Anthropologica (New Series) 2002

Adlam, Robert G. Fish Talk. Anthropologica, 2002. 44(1): 99-112.

This article examines interviews with the Mi’kmaq Aboriginal fishers of the Miramichi river in New Brunswick, and discusses how their discourse – in other words, their “fish talk” – shapes their practices, values and understanding of the fishery.

The author first discusses the history of the fishery at Miramichi, telling of the Mi’kmaq’s long time association with the river. Access to the fishery was at first very liberal, but upon the establishment of European settlements along the river in the 1700s, access became very restricted as Europeans began to use it intensively. Exploitative fishing practices not only disrupted the Aboriginal fishers’ way of life, but devastated the once large quantity of live stock. Later regulations gave Euro-Canadian fishers almost exclusive access to the fishery for commercial purposes, while the Aboriginals were only allowed to fish for subsistence.

In an effort to diminish ethnographic authority of the third person, the author uses parts of recorded interviews to supplement the rest of the article. Their discourse, as it is later demonstrated, is not simply vocalized opinions, but is in fact constitutive of their actions made in the fishery. The Mi’kmaq have two different conceptions of the modern state of the fishery – the traditionalist and modern conceptions – which are apparent in people’s conversations. The traditionalist conception is tied to their heritage and their spiritual connection to the land. Traditionalists feel that they have a right to fish at the Miramichi based on their long tradition of use. It is significant to their way of life. In the early 1990s the Aboriginal Fishery Strategy put forth by the government presented the Mi’kmaq with employment opportunities. This brought new significance to the fishery and formed the modernist conception. Modernists see the AFS as the solution to problems of unemployment and discrimination. The traditionalists think that the modernists are agreeing to a right they already have and that they are just compromising their own worth for short-term job benefits. In response, the modernists argue that relations with non-Aboriginals are inevitable and would in fact better situations for future generations. Indeed, their opposing “fish talk” was the underlying agent in constructing two very distinct relationships with non-Aboriginals.

The traditionalists and modernists also have contradictory beliefs that influence the various fishing practices that are in use. Traditionalists are concerned with the conservation of their culture. They want to teach their children the fishing practices that they had always used and have always been a part of their way of life. In contrast the modernists are concerned about the conservation and regulation of the fish stocks. The AFS had taught them more conservative fishing practices than the traditional ways, which they believe to be more practical and fair. It is evident that these discourses also helped to shape their actions in the fishery.


CHRISTINA ZARAGOZA York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Bordi, Ivonne Vizcarra. Social Welfare in the 1990s in Mexico: The Case of “Marginal” Families in the Mazahua Region. Anthropologica, 2002. XLIV(2):209-222.

In this article, Ivonne Vizcarra Bordi examines social programs designed to benefit “marginal” families in the Mazahua community of San Miguel de Labor, Mexico. Bordi focuses on the discursive practices surrounding the institution of social programs and the outcomes for the participants and argues that such programs become mechanisms of social control.

The article is based on Bordi’s fieldwork in San Miguel de Labor, a participant community in the Program of Education, Health and Nutrition (PROGRESSA). She examines the delivery methods and outcomes of the program. Bordi challenges the economic basis for definitions of “marginal”, and “extreme poverty”, as an example of the broader economic discourse that frames social programs such as PROGRESSA. She states that globalization is a major factor in the discourse that constructs poverty as dangerous and that countries such as Mexico participate within this framework in order to attract industry by maintaining low labour costs. For this reason it is in Mexico’s interests to continue to focus on compensation and relief programs rather than programs focused on re-distribution or creation of wage increases. Equality of opportunity is championed as a means to greater self-sufficiency but Bordi points out that legislated opportunities often are not realized for those they are mean to benefit.

Bordi argues that pressure from international organizations promoting recognition of the role of women causes responsibility for the family’s inclusion in the programs to be placed on women. The programs become instruments of social control that create stress for women and affect family structures and decision-making. The programs further cause dissension in the community when some are deemed eligible and others are not.

Bordi points out the unequal power relations that are being played out at various points in the ceation and delivery of social programs in this region.


MARTHA FRANCIS York University (Margaret MacDonald).

Clarke Maxine, Kamari. Governmentality, Modernity and the Historical Politics of Oyo-Hegemony in Yoruba Transnational Revivalism. Anthropologica, 2002. 44 (2): 271-293.

The article’s basic argument is that the shift from oral to literate forms in Nigeria was what allowed the privileging of Oyo-Yoruba ancestry as the popular literary icon of African-American revivalism.

The overall intellectual concern here is the valued importance and power that literate history or interpretations of history can have over oral ones in a way a people and society are defined.

The evidence used is primarily historical, which traces Oyo-Yoroba history and its interaction with colonialism and colonial literary forms that influenced Oyo-Yoroba society. Going further the author spends the majority of the article with a certain point. Which is that what gets counted as traditional Oyo History heavily influenced by social, colonial, and literary institutions that brought together individuals who shared sociopolitical and linguistic capital.

The colonial shift from oral to literary traditions contributed to an invented literary history that is justified as a legitimate version of history that does not adequately reflect Yoruba culture.

The evidence is presented in a unique way. The opening information begins with a suicide in the Oyotunji village of a young man. The community was faced with a dilemma as friends of the villagers debated the Yoruba tradition of not giving a proper burial to those who commit suicide was not with current times. There reasoning was based on searching through literary texts of Yoruba history and updating it to include allowances for suicide due to African American poverty.

The evidence is very convincing as the opening is an example as the reader learns that the Oyotunji village is not in Africa but rather in Charleston, South Carolina. From this point on the author develops two major points central to understanding the above example. The first is the demise of the Oyo people in Africa that led to the nation building in colonial Nigeria, and the second is the development of the Yoruba community in Oyutunji village that uses 19th century colonial history to reconstruct its ancestral past.


NADIR SHIRAZI York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Cunningham, Hilary. Transnational Social Movements and Sovereignties in Transition: Charting New Interfaces of Power at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Anthropologica, 2002. 44(2): 185-196.

Cunningham addresses the dynamic relations of power between state and activist actors and expresses her desire to convey sensitivity to the changing roles and interfaces of power between states and social movements. Her argument tackles the globalization theorists’ tendency to dismiss the nation-state as a withering entity. Instead, she proposes that globalization processes have generated dynamic situations for adaptability.

Cunningham structures the paper through her fieldwork with the Sanctuary Movement, a network of religious communities that provided an “underground railroad” for political refugees from Central America. She then moves on to a discussion of how the movement aided refugees across the border, utilizing “evasion practices” consisting of disguises, inconspicuous transportation methods, and protocols. Interestingly, she emphasizes the sophisticated methods of “border runs” while addressing the movement’s media strategy utilizing cat and mouse imagery. The strategy proves to be successful, playing on the idea of “everyday church people” outmaneuvering and outsmarting the state with its superior resources. The Sanctuary Movement played on an oppositional interface that reduced the authority the state had over religious life. Cunningham notes, however, that with the advent of NAFTA in 1994 the interface of power between the political activists and the state changed. The activists appeared to have adopted a “global activist” discourse, addressing the issues of globalization and neoliberal capitalism. On the other hand, the nation-state took on a more community-centered approach, acting as a listener and participant. Consequently, both formerly opposed `actors’ formed a relationship of “new co-operation”. Despite this new approach, Cunningham suggests that more was going on behind the scene, pointing to the border officials’ responsibilities to ensure the flow of commercial traffic while preventing illegal flows, such as drugs or refugees. This seemingly contradictory role placed the activists at odds; the increased security measures made it much more dangerous for refugees to safely cross the border. Interestingly, the activists and state seem to play on the co-operative aspects of their relationship publicly, while unofficial sources reveal glimpses of animosity. In the end, Cunningham implies that the interfaces of power have not eroded, but rather are in a state of transition.

Throughout the article, Cunningham utilizes a variety of literature from scholars, statistics and other information, as well as examples from her fieldwork. Generally, she convincingly presents this information through a specific history of the region studied and embeds it with analysis.


CHRISTOPHER J. R. OWENS York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Doyon, Sabrina. The Structural Marginalization of Artisanal Fishing Communities: The Case of La Boquita. Anthropologica, 2002. 44(1): 83-98.

This article uses a case study of the fishing community of La Boquita to address the structural marginalization of artisanal fishing communities. Doyon addresses how political ecology theory helps to investigate this particular case study. She defines political ecology theory as the multifaceted relationship between humans and the environment, or society and natural resources. The author provides an overview of La Boquita’s social, political, economic, and environmental history as an artisanal fishing community.

Doyon highlights three factors that she believes contributes to the struggle of the community: (1) territorial disputes with the government, (2) the intrusion of the tourism industry on local areas, which leads to environmental degradation; and (3) the demands of the sport fishing business to restrict La Boquita’s right to fish.

Doyon first describes the continuous illegal selling of already occupied lands to foreign investors, and the how the government neglects to assist residents when they wish to reclaim the land that is rightfully theirs. This paints an unclear picture of the position of the government, for they are “giving contradictory promises to each party while remaining inactive, thus disabling any decisive action”.

Tourism has also had an impact on La Boquita. Although residents avoid tourism and the changes it brings to the community, they are also discovering the attractive features of it. Though tourism creates more jobs, the developments eventually harm the environment, which affects the quality of life in the community. In addition, the divisions of labour are altered in order to accommodate tourists. One main concern is that younger residents are lacking of fishing knowledge because they are more interested in tourism jobs.

Finally, the author discusses the relationship between resident La Boquita fishermen and sport fishermen. She asks: whose fishing is more important? Fishing tournaments restrict what can and cannot be fished by resident fishermen, which take away a fisherman’s right to work. In sum, sport fishing undermines artisanal fishing. In addition, the government neglects to employ “resource management policies” that meet the needs of both sport fishermen and artisanal fishermen.


AMY HUYNH York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Gibb, Camilla. Deterritorialized People in Hyperspace: Creating and Debating Harari Identity over the Internet. Anthropolgica, 2002. 64(1): 55-68.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front replaced the Socialist Dictatorship, the Dergue, in 1991, after two decades of power. The effects of the Dergue had created a diaspora – an idea of people who imagine themselves as a nation outside their homeland. This implies movement as well as a return. In her introduction, Gibb identifies a dimension not yet considered in the definition of aspects of community and culture – virtual reality. She explores aspects of negotiations amongst members of an Ethiopian community, the Muslim Harari from the city of Harar. Return to their homeland is conditional, depending on the changes of the circumstances, which initially led them to migrate. The majority of Hararis outside Ethiopia occupy Toronto, an estimated ten percent.

Gibb researched the field in Toronto as a participant observer of both individual families and Harari communities. She was also involved in discussions that took place on `H-Net’, an e-mail based discussion forum for Harari diaspora. Parents of this generation of Harari wish to, and speak, literally, of returning to Ethiopia. Their return is doubly challenged, not only by the political changes at home, but also by the North American perceptions of Muslims, especially after 9/11. For many Hararis religious identity, rather than national or ethnic identity has become the main aspect of their diaspora. This could be problematic. If `Harari’ equates to `Muslim,’ then the assumption that there is something constant about their identity over time and space is made. Hararis have come to view themselves as members of one nation spread across different lands. Harari-Canadian youths have different romantic ideals than their parents about the homeland they were forced to escape. Their parents idealize the return to simple agricultural existence, when in fact; Hararis have stopped farming over a century ago.

Gibbs concludes that the discourse of Harari nationhood in a specific territorial space is being debated in the hyperspace. She suggests, contemporary identity is hybrid and is exportable across time and space.


MARTA MICHALOWSKA York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Gibb, Camilla. Deterritorialized People in Hyperspace: Creating and Debating Harari Identity over the Internet. Anthropologica, 2002. XLIV: 55-67.

Gibb’s article analyses the transnational identity and solidarity of the diasporic community of Harari; a group of Muslim people who identify their roots and traditions from the city of Harar in Ethiopia. Due to governmental oppressions in Ethiopia for nearly twenty years by the Dergue, many Harari people migrated across the globe to seek safer asylum. Gibb points out the fact that, even though more than half the original Harari population is migrated from Canada to Australia (including the ones born outside Ethiopia) they all possess a common identity.

Gibb further examines this phenomena and reveals that identifying oneself as a Harari is not simply identifying with a common place geographically, but it also involves sharing or “adopting the language and cultural and religious practices of the Harari, and being integrated socially through kinship, friendship and membership in a community observance association”. Many Harari speak of returning to Harar someday, but as Gibb explains the idea may not be a practical one. Harari born in another country, whose identity is further complicated with that of the identity they have developed in their birth or host country; may speak of return but is likely due to a preferred move towards solidarity or to escape the racist attitudes towards Muslims that may exists in the country that they live in. The elder Harari fear that the new generations of Harari have mixed and weakened ideas of their Harari identity due to their displacement worldwide. With the advent of technology and the explosion of the Internet, the Harari community has developed an e-mail chat web site to allow Harari’s to communicate across the globe. Designed in 1996, the web site was designed to expand and strengthen the culture and traditions of being Harari to the successive generations who may have become unfamiliar with the original notions of being Harari.

Gibb explains that although the web site has been a popular site to many young Harari men of North America it proves to be problematic due to its technological limitations. Two major limitations are that Harari’s in Ethiopia don’t have Internet access and secondly, many of the elders from Harar don’t speak English, which is the language the web site is conducted in. Both sub-groups of Hararis are considered valuable to the preservation of Harari identity but yet neither can contribute to the discussions and discourse permeating the chat rooms of the Harari web site. This article was fairly clear and easy to read. Its flow was consistent and clearly examined the dynamics of the ideas around creating a common identity in cyberspace for the spread out community of the Harar.


AMY SAUNDERS York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Harney, Nicholas. Building Italian Regional Identity in Toronto: Using Space to Make Culture Material. Anthropologica, 2002. XLIV: 43 -54.

Casa Abruzzo offers cultural activities and opportunities to travel to Italy for educational or touring purposes; the building is built in literal reminiscence of the region of Abruzzo, symbolic of the lifestyle and structure of the place of origin.

The article explores the movement and loss of specific space for their ethnic group among the Italians in Toronto, arguing the need to focus more on how these same people have found new ways of identifying with their cultural heritage and their use for physical locations to do so. These sites demonstrate people’s ability to create meaning within encompassing structures of the larger society in which they live.

The author begins by discussing the nature of anthropological studies related to transnationalism and diaspora. `Transnationalism’ is concerned with the dispersion of people between places while `diaspora’ refers to people who left their origins due to reasons relating to the condition of their country, while maintaining a sense of their own culture in another society. These migrations allowed for more contact between migrants in different locations; advances in technology also change this contact. Italians have done this for a hundred and thirty years, as part of labour diaspora, to several locations. Communication is constant to their cultural institutions and kin. The society in which they dwell encourages solidarity among them, in addition to celebrating their heritage. However, they usually conform to rules set down by the host society to handle diversity.

These cultural groups usually receive funding from both the host society and from their country of origin to preserve their cultural forms, though in the case of the Italians in Toronto, there have been complaints that it did not really promote democracy for people of all backgrounds and did not completely erase discrimination. In keeping with their culture, the Italians in Toronto also maintain some of their idiosyncrasies, having their own form of discriminatory behavior among the different groups.

The author uses the example of `Casa Abruzzo’, a place for the Italian community from the region of Abruzzo, to demonstrate how they use such structures to maintain their cultural identities in Toronto. Both Italian and local organizations fund the structure, and it is located close to the Italian settlement.

Hence, literal space assists in the creation of identity of a culture in a host society.


RUTH HONG York University (Maggie McDonald).

Letkemann, Paul G. The Office Workplace: Communitas and Hierarchical Social Structures. Anthropologica, 2002. XLIV(2): 257-270.

Paul G. Letkeman is interested in exposing the office workplace to be an appropriate and possible setting for Victor Turner’s concept of communitas. Turner’s Communitas is a group experience in which a sense of a common goal and a collective emotional bond may transcend individual social status, creating a feeling of shared equality. It is unusual for Letkemann to focus on the hierarchically structured workplace as a setting for this experience, because most studies have attempted to place communitas exclusively in settings lacking social structure. Most discussion focuses on settings such as cultural rituals, or rock concerts placing emphasis on a pre-existing absence or temporary suspension of structural hierarchy. Letkemann finds this very problematic. Turner did not perceive communitas as an isolated concept unattached to social structure; he understood it to exist within a social framework for the purpose of social function. By revealing how comunitas can occur within a structured office workplace, Letkemann demonstrates that communitas is not only framed by social structure – it relies on it.

Letkemann interviewed members of a regional Land Use Planning Commision Office in Alberta. At the time of his interview recent Provincial budget cuts had resulted in a series of sudden lay-offs so that eleven of his informants were recently unemployed. In his interviews he found that the sudden lay-offs not only created a loss of jobs but a loss of communitas for the people involved. The office (ex)members described their work environment as an autonomous “family” where they worked as a team to reach a common goal. This description of the office is compatible to Turner’s description of communitas – a feeling of autonomy and a collective goal producing an intense bond of “togetherness”. The point that Letkemann emphasizes is that this autonomous “family” experience emerged from a hierarchically structured office. Through his interviews Letkemann argues that communitas can exist within a clearly established hierarchy. He thus challenges the claim that structural hierarchy restricts the experience of communitas.


DENA GRANER York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Levin, Micheal D. Flow and Place: Transnationalism in Four Cases, Anthropologica, 2002. 44 (1): 3-12.

This article looks at the issue of transnationalism and its impacts in the increasingly global world. The author surmises that since cultures have always been in constant change, transnationalism cannot be blamed for destroying homogeneous and strictly bound ethnic societies. The author points that transnationalism has lead to the creation of new institutions and has helped facilitate the relations that migrants create between their original and new homes. Transnationalism has also been a liberating process for migrants as it has decreased the need for firm ethnic national identities. Essentially transnationalism helps to continue old relationships even if they are altered in the process.

The author defines flows as information and communication activities connecting different individuals and institutions. Globalization and transnationalism are marked by the faster speed and higher amount of these flows that now easily take place. Transportation and communication are now also so advanced, low cost, accessible and fast that borders appear to become nonexistent. It has been argued that national governments have little control over transnational processes and the result has been to undermine state autonomy and erode the definition of citizenship, which allows for other communities to more easily enter the nation. The result of this has been more mixed societies and cultures. Transnationalism has also facilitated the movements of people and the spread of diasporas. But the notion of diaspora is being redefined as people chose to move intentionally. There have been arguments as to whether all this will bring about a more homogenous global culture or more heterogeneous ones.

The difference between nation and state are important. The article points out that the government and bureaucracy compose the state, but one’s nationality can vary, contend and co-exist with others. Overall the author articulates that cross border flows may defy state authority, which is not new as it can be historically seen in the instances of Cape Verde, Lebanon and Italy which have pasts long including emigration and diasporic movements. Harar, a city in Ethiopia, is also examined. The citizens in these situations have long renegotiated their nationality and incorporated both their old home and their new home into their identity. Transnationalism is just yet another factor that causes a person’s nationality to alter and expand.


GAIL ATKINSON York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Noble, Brian. Niitooii-The Same that is Real: Parallel Practice, Museums, and the Repatriation of Piikani Customary Authority Anthropologica, 2002. XLIV(1): 113-130.

This article deals with the concerns that the Piikani people have over repatriating certain cultural material museums have used on display. The Piikani people are of the belief that museums should voluntarily hand over what is not rightfully theirs however they should also understand that it is not just the material objects that should be given up. As the Piikani people call it, the `shadows’ must also be returned. These shadows are the memories, and cultural beliefs that the museums “stole” when taking the Piikani artefacts.

Noble’s argument is that over the last several years, western museums and the Blackfoot people have had extensive negotiations over the repatriation of Aboriginal materials. It was also stated that restoring these power relations is not necessarily cut and dry. Museums have still been given greater authority to the materials over the Aboriginal community. Noble illustrates how negotiations between native and non-native people have run into several bumps, but also offers some insight into how the negotiations for repatriation can work for the better.

Several quotes by prominent Blackfoot members such as Reg Crowshoe and Joe Crowshoe, who was a Blackfoot ceremonialist, and explicit evidence explained by Noble illustrate how the museums are attempting to negotiate, and how the natives are responding to these negotiations. The two Blackfoot men address how museums are preventing the Blackfoot community from exploring their heritage and “get[ting] back to their culture.” They went on to say that Blackfoot items in Western museums were `dead’ in that the items were no longer connected to the people, and as such, their `shadows’ were stolen.

The evidence is presented in a way such that the reader is able to understand why the Blackfoot community would like to work together with Western museums in an effort to take back what is rightfully theirs, but also to display the items in such a way to still allow people the opportunity to view them. The Blackfoot community feels they are better able to explain the items and materials and also use these items to allow younger members of the community a glimpse into the history of their peoples.


JONATHAN GRNAK York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Nuijten, Monique. Organizing the Peasants: Participation, Organization and the Politics of Development in a Mexican Government Program. Anthropologica, 2002. 44(2): 223-236.

Nuijten discusses peasant organization through the implementation of a “bottom-up participatory” program by the Mexican Government. The local ejido sector was encouraged to produce their own set of internal ejido rules. These Internal Ejido Rules (IER) were established to improve, at the local level, the organization of the ejido through both legalistic and formalistic organizational models. Nuijten demonstrates how the implementation of this program was powered by a strained relationship between ejidatarios (commissioners) and the Mexican State. Moreover, she explores the way by which individuals have appropriated the program in a plethora of ways. Through the use of her own observations obtained through fieldwork, the notions of various theorists, a brief history of the Mexican ejido, as well as ethnographic material based on research conducted in ejido La Canoa in Western Mexico, she attempts to illustrate the ineffectiveness of these “participatory” and “bottom-up” approaches.

Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution was amended in 1992 and as a result, the Agrarian Law was altered. As of 1992, Agrarian Law outlined that land would no longer be expropriated as the means to establish or enlarge ejidos. Ejidatarios now, would be permitted to buy, lease, rent or sell their land. Furthermore, the possibility of working with private enterprises and individual investors would become more probable. Nuijten uses the article to advocate her notion that while some changes did occur, stereotypical ideas of the ejidos and their treatment remained unchanged. She describes her role as a “detached observer” and as such, concludes that the problem that existed was not due to a lack of ideas but a lack of political context in which these programs were administered. In addition, she acknowledged intervention as being appropriated within both client and personal relations.

Three weaknesses are highlighted when examining the debate surrounding organization and institution building for the purpose of development. First, while most concepts of organization and institutions encompass a notion of collective goals and actions, the reality remains that members can have varied goals that are subject to change. Next, only a minimal amount of attention is paid to the fact that most people prefer working in loose individual groups in comparison to collective undertakings. Lastly surrounding this debate are the unrealistic views governing the relationship between organization and power. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approaches also stress the importance of community orientation and group processes. Nuijten illustrates that these PRA’s can become the mechanisms individuals in positions of authority can utilize to promote their own private interests as public community interests.


DIANE CIAVARRO York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Smith, Derek G. The Barbeau Archives at the Canadian Museum of Civilization: Some Current Research Problems. Anthropologica, 2002. XLIII(2): 191-200.

In this article, Smith provides the reader with an indepth look into the life and work of the late Marius Barbeau, from the former National Museum of Canada. The goal of this article is to further explore Barbeau’s field research documents known as the “Barbeau Archives” and present the challenges that contemporary anthropologists have encountered. Barbeau has made a significant contribution in the discipline of Anthropology and Folklore studies in Canada.

This article explores the work he conducted with the displacement and genealogies of the Huron-Wyandot people near Quebec City and Oklahoma. Smith describes Barbeau’s work as a form of “salvage ethnology” as it deals with information that can disappear rapidly. The article goes on to discuss the most popular aspect of the archives, which is the Northwest Coast Collection. Barbeau worked in the Prince Rupert area in 1915 with the purpose to promote intercultural relationships between the Nass and Skeena people and the Canadian arts. He worked closely with a Tsimshian from Prince Rupert named William Beynon. Beynon was experienced with linguistic transcription and thus provided a lot of information in the documents under Barbeau’s supervision. In acknowledgement of their work together, this component of the archive is known as the Barbeau-Beynon collection. It has proved to be a valuable asset to North Pacific scholars in their own research. Among his many achievements, Barbeau also spent a lot of time collecting a variety of materials regarding the folk culture in Quebec.

Although Barbeau has been credited for his many published items and other various achievements in field research, many anthropologists have rejected his views. They question the way he collected his information as it might have disregarded theoretical, methodological, social and political aspects to make his work credible. Smith takes an objective approach in saying that Barbeau was rather disorganized in his findings and the research he conducted was largely subjective in nature. This can create controversy as to how valuable his documentations are when they have been strongly influenced by his mind frame at that particular time. There are several solutions that the author points out, including a careful analysis of the content and the form of the archive. Other issues discussed within the article, was Barbeau’s lack of discipline when citing specific dates on some of his ethnographic findings and his lack of consistency in writing his manuscripts. Regardless of the way Barbeau worked, he was able to identify and contribute many important annotations unfamiliar to his time.

In conclusion, Barbeau’s work has become monumental to Anthropology and Folklore studies. Along with careful critical and theoretical assessments of Barbeau’s study, there is also a need to maintain the essence of his work without tainting it.


ANUSHKA JEYANAYAGAM York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Smith, Gavin. Grass-Roots Participation and the Bureaucratic Interfaces: The Case of Mexico- Introduction. Anthropologica, 2002. XLI(2): 159-164.

Gavin Smith’s article uses Mexico as an example to address the general issue of “grassroots” involvement in and interaction with bureaucratic forms of government. Smith discusses the modern dichotomy of protest versus collusion with government in the debate on participation in governance. He claims that the current idea of participation is as linked to development, especially of Third World countries, as modernization was a few decades ago. Smith’s thesis is that participation in political structures has become a matter of how far one goes in perpetuating capitalist economic production, instead of an issue of affecting social and political norms.

Smith refers to other articles than his own written in the journal Anthropologica about the political and economic development of Mexico in relation to foreign aid. He also uses concepts drawn from such pro-Marxist theorists as Michel Foucault and Francis Fukuyama, who have written strongly about the evils of capitalism, and criticises other scholars such as Stuart Hall and Ernesto Laclau for their acceptance of capitalist machine.

Smith claims that the empowerment that was supposedly inherent in the political- economic world’s new understanding of human capital has become polluted with the vertical power relationships that maintain the status quo.

For evidence about how his thesis relates to Mexico, Smith reminds the reader of the Zapatista guerrilla group. A good point is made about how the ‘maquiladoras,’ factories that exploit cheap labour within Mexico, appear to vindicate claims that the quality of life in Mexico is improving. The People are still being exploited, but they are receiving more benefit than in other avenues of work, and so the government becomes associated with this “improvement.” Other proof provided by Smith includes the historical origins of the ‘cofradias’ in Chiapas, and how the gap between endeavours of church and state in the past is similar to the issues of local organization on the Mexican-US border today. Smith’s final proof lies in the juxtaposition of rural and urban livelihoods that, according Torres-Lima and Burns, has created a new social category in Mexico that will continue to rise in importance: urban agriculturists.


ARIELA FUERSTENBERG York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Gavin Smith. Grass-Roots Participation and Bureaucratic Interfaces: The Case of Mexico- Introduction. Anthropologica 2002 Vol. 44(2) 159-163.

Smith starts off the article by discussing the theories behind three keywords: modernity, modernism, and modernization. Identifying how they are associated with one another and where the development of all three began. Obviously the West was no stranger to modernization, but this wasn’t the case for places like the third world. Where it was presented to the people and believed that by accepting the practice of “modern culture” they could be saved. The author continues on incorporating the term “participation” and “development”, both looked upon as being closing associated with modernization. Although Foucault’s views on monarchial power versus modern power were broad they were tied in to the topic of article. Smith then shifts over to discuss the nature of capitalist economics and socialist politics. Events taken from the past history and examples of economic situations were used to explain these two concepts, respectively. To further clarify the point about liberal governance, he quotes a statement made by Colin Gordon. With Gordon’s neo-liberal way of thinking the public can now get a better grasp on the concept of “participation“. The sources of Smith’s information were gathered by papers written by people who encountered direct connections with the situations in Mexico. Smith states that through these articles the public is able to become aware of these types of situations; since Mexico is an area where there are many quarrels associated with the main topics covered in this article.


ADRIENNE T. HALE University of Hawaii at Manoa (Heather Young Leslie)

Torres-Lima, Pablo and Burns, Allan. Regional Culture and Urban Agriculturalists of Mexico City. Anthropologica, 2002. 44(2): 247-256.

The authors discuss the labour organization of agricultural production in Mexico City as a result of cultural and social association with an urban and rural economy. Cultural interplay of labour integration is noted between rural and urban communities including the process of temporary-recurrent migration among urban agriculturalists. The cultural identities of urban agriculturalists are constantly changing as a result of social and economic circumstances.

As Mexico City’s societies become more complex in terms of territory and culture, urban agriculturalists face new market pressures and demands. Research statistics show that 40% of agricultural land has been displaced due to urban expansion, leading to just over 45% of the total labour force working as urban agriculturalists.

Rather than seek better salaries and job benefits, urban agriculturalists have been committed to an economic interdependence and regional common social welfare. These agriculturalists will not leave agricultural employment but instead combine their urban and agricultural economic strategies, since urban jobs are frequently an unstable source of income. Thus, agriculturalists are able to face the insecurities of urban wage employment by maintaining farming activities.

Overall, urban agriculturalists are able to experience and have knowledge of both sides of the spectrum that is natural resources and the environment as well as off-farm labour. Each of these experiences requires a different set of economic values, socialization strategies thus, expanding a person’s cultural identity.


ALYSIA SLUGA York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Torres-Lima, Pablo and Burns, Allan F. Regional Culture and Urban Agriculturalists of Mexico City. Anthropologica Vol. XLIV No2 2002 Vol 44 (2):247-256

The authors describe two rural agricultural regions of Mexico City; Xochimilco and Milpa Alta, as the representative urban agricultural regions which have been influenced by both adjacent macro urban society and their local rural culture. This study is based on the field work and the survey with almost accurate confidential the authors took place in these two regions in 1995. They propose mainly three points; cultural interplay of the urban agriculturalists in progress of temporary-recurrent migration, compatibility of migration and agricultural production at the same time, and their use and adjustment of their cultural system.

The authors mention that these classical rural agricultural regions have the family-based agricultural system and urban wage economy influenced by urbanization. The typical urban agriculturalists began to have two jobs, one as the government or factory workers in Mexico City, and the other as the peasants in local rural region, while Mexico City developed economically and industrially. To understand why they have two jobs, the authors attempt to analyze that the regional and cultural context because these factors directly and indirectly affect the responses and decision-making processes of the urban agriculturalists. As the factor of regional context, the authors show the survey of “distribution” and “comparative labor characteristic” of urban agriculturalists. The result of survey suggests that even if they migrate to Mexico City to get the job, they still dependent on agricultural productions as the important source of income in local region because the urban job is not stable and secure to make their living. As the factor of cultural context, they focus on the household activities because it is believed that household reproduces form of labor organization. It is also important for family member to participate in the agricultural activities in those local regions as the patter of their culture. For these reasons, the authors believe that the agriculture is an important employment option as well as the urban employment in Mexico City.

In conclusion, this article suggests the cultural and social community bonds between urban and rural is the valuable to define and organize the status of the urban agriculturists. The family-based culture adapts the current urban condition, on the other hand, urban society incorporate with rural agriculture to progress. The authors suggest that they will continue this successful urban-rural relationship to develop the construction of their life in these agricultural regions.


MIKA FUJIKI University of Hawaii at Manoa (Heather Young Leslie)