Human Organization 1989
Beaton, George H. Small but Healthy? Are We Asking the Right Question. Human Organization, 1989. Vol. 48(1): 30-38.
In this article Beaton chooses to address the debate surrounding the concept of malnutrition in relationship to the relative size of an individual. Beaton believes that the application of the term “smallness” is useful as a component used to describe the environment of an individual during stage of growth as well as a guideline for the indication of the risk of morbidity and mortality during development. However, he also believes that Asmallness” is not able to be considered the only determining factor in malnutrition because it is not a specific marker with clear definitions and parameters.
To construct this argument, Beaton gives a history of the development of malnutrition through the middle and later part of the twentieth century. In the beginning of the malnutrition focus, marasmus and kwashiorkor are sited by Beaton as the recognized, major components of severe malnutrition. Negligible growth was therefore seen as a precursor to severe malnutrition and focus was created toward the elimination of the undernourished as a preventative measure to the more extreme components of malnutrition.
A second shift in focus is cited by Beaton to have occurred after the application of the “Gomez Classification of Malnutrition” led to the hospitalization of children based on a ratio of their age to their body weight along with the creation of an identifiable way to isolate precursors of severe malnutrition. Small size was redefined as the product of the process of malnutrition, not the predictor. The classification system allowed for the identification and separation of children considered stunted of undernourished based upon the relationship of weight to age, height to age, and weight to height and was monitored through long-term physician tracking.
Beaton identifies the conflict with presumed notions of malnutrition arising in the 1980′s. To highlight the conflict he contrasts two data collection sets. The first contrasts body weight by age of an individual to reference weights taken from the NCHS/CDC Anthropometric Reference. This method is the long-term approach which physicians apply to their patients with the hope of identifying malnutrition by looking at the deviation of weight from the normal within a specific population, this method of analysis is believed by Beaton to be incorrect.
The second data set is obtained from Kenya and looks at group weights in comparison to age and is coupled with a Z score. In this study, the Z score is not defined and the reference line is created from the weight to age ratio of industrialized nations. In this data set, it is shown that between four months and two years of age, weights of the Kenya group decrease and do not return to the expected levels found in industrialized nations. Analysis of this data looks at the patterns of weight change and it is discovered that the process of becoming small transitions to a state of being small within the population.
The belief and argument of Beaton is supported by the second set of data and is further supported through the analysis of the FAO Fifth World Food Survey of 1987. Analysis of the data is believed to represent the undernourished, but Beaton explains that what is actually represented is a failing to grow and that no conclusion can be made that an increase in food intake would in any way increase the size of an individual. Overall, Beaton believes misinterpretations have been made which have hindered focus on the true issues at hand and without clear definitions and the creation of a transition away from size as a single approach of malnutrition, the debate will continue and a resolution will not occur.
LINDSAY MORROW North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Beaton, George H. Small but Healthy? Are We Asking the Right Questions? Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol.48 (1): 30-38.
It has been viewed among the global community that smallness is strongly correlated to malnutrition. The awareness of extreme cases of malnutrition such as kwashiorkor and marasmus has strengthened this view. Beaton seeks to answer the question posed by David Seckler of “Small but Healthy?”. Beaton argues that the perception of smallness is incorrect, that terminology is a major issue in classifying smallness, and some methods may be inappropriate in determining smallness in populations and individuals.
The perception of smallness has changed from being a predictor of severe malnutrition to being an undesirable outcome. Beaton states that one should focus more on becoming small rather than being small. He supports this argument by showing that smallness can be an environmental adaptation as well as a consequence of environmental factors. Beaton shows that small but healthy can be measured through weight and/ or height, but categorizing and classification must be defined. Without this stringent classification, programs become overly casual and are not effective. Beaton shows how nutritional programs can be ineffective by discussing the “Under Fives Clinics” where growth monitoring was used. He believes that a nutritional program should focus on the smallest of the group to get a higher effective rate. He also believes that while food intake is an important factor, it should not be the only intervention action.
Beaton states that methods, such as longitudinal growth monitoring, are more useful than using a single point cross sectional data. Beaton conveys to the reader that smallness is a useful descriptive index of the environment during early growth and development, but it must be interpreted correctly. The use of anthropometric measurements, he believes, is often incorrectly used as the final definition of malnutrition. He states that growth and achieved size marked by various influences and are contrasting, but not specific markers of nutritional problems.
Beaton concludes that one should not label the problem as “malnutrition” but rather as the “growth failure consequent to environmental constraints”. While he feels that Seckler’s question of “Small but Healthy?” is effectively answered, Beaton believed it was more important to look instead at the consequences of smallness as an adaptation primarily, as the reduction in the potential for change. Beaton further concludes that the “…focus [should be] on the process of becoming small and on the environmental factors-biological and social- that are determinants of smallness…” (p. 37).
MY’ESHA D. JONES North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Chang, Yunshik. Peasants Go to Town: The Rise of Commercial Farming in Korea. Human Organization. 1998 Vol.48(3):236-249
Chang’s Article is a response to the assertions of substantivist and Marxist perspectives on internal class differentiation within a peasantry. These perspectives assert that when the market penetrates into a small peasant community internal class differentiation occurs. During Chang’s study of commercial farming in Korea, he believed that he had found an example of a peasantry which has not become differentiated by market penetration through capitalism.
Chang has shown how the farming peasantry has changed since land reforms have taken place. Peasant farmers have been given land based on the land-to-the-tiller principal. This effectively gives them 3 hectares to farm automotously.
Those farmers who have kept larger plots of land have lost anyone to work on them as an increasing labor shortage has forced larger farmers to hire only from within their own families. This labor shortage has been created by increasing migration to the city by the rural population. To go along with this growth, urban requirements for farm products have also risen. These urban requirements have been found to be much more so for non-staple items, ie: strawberries, mushrooms, and other fruits, and not for the traditional grains typically grown in rural farmland in Korea. Chang shows that commercial farming arises as a result of subsistence level farming of traditional grains and working with the community to yield these sorts of cash crops.
These farmers are forced to deal with a smattering of different pressures in the marketplace to sell their wares. Selling to urban merchants is difficult business because they are known to constantly lie to and cheat the farmers. Also, systems of finding accurate market prices for commodities, packaging, storage of commodities, and a lack of effective market institutions, have forced farmers to work together in a more communal way to turn a profit.
Most often the way this communal farming takes place is for a few farmers to begin to plant a new commodity on their small scale plot and then give the information necessary to their neighbors, in a sort of hamlet solidarity. But also they work with a hamlet headman to sell collectively, use trucks bought by the entire community, to assess quality controls, to secure true market pricing, and also adopt the newest technologies to yield the best crops.
Chang believes that the fact that these farmers, which have been integrated into a commercial farming economy where they have not battled each other, but moreover have bonded together to make maximum profit is at least a minor rebuke to Marxist and substantivist perspectives. Chang feels that this has taken place because: farmers have stayed with only small plots without a wage earning class working on the farms, farmers have become increasingly opposed to urban merchants, and hamlet headmen have continued to further the interests of farmers.
MATTHEW NEAL North Carolina State University (Anne Shiller)
Fitchen, Janet M. When Toxic Chemcials Pollute Residential Environments: The Cultural Meansings of Home and Homeownership. Human Organization, Winter 1989. Vol.48(4): 313-324.
When toxic chemicals pollute the home, it is perfectly acceptable to understand why people react as they do. To Americans, the home represents santicity, security and privacy; such that when toxic chemicals contaminate their home, the homeowner feels threatened. Contamination is more than a financial burden and health threat; it is a threat to the cultural symbolism of the family. Fitchen describes the cultural meanings of home and homeownership in her article, making it clear why Americans react so strongly when they think their home is threatened.
Fitchen seeks to analyze what is “the home?” In a survey of 425 people, Fitchen asked for the sentence, “the home is…,” to be completed. From her results, she found that the home is a place of refuge, a person’s safeguard, and a place where someone can be them self and not have to worry. It is a person’s sanctuary after a long day and a place of comfort on a rainy day. A home is where a family is raised, where food taste better, and where the heart is. The home serves the purpose “to satisfy the basic needs of family members” (p. 315). There are many cultural meanings of Home and the threat posed to it by contamination makes Americans feel vulnerable.
Multiple cultural meanings of home were found my Fitchen, from the research that she gathered in a holistic and people-oriented approach. Fitchen interviewed residents of both contaminated and unaffected areas and reached the conclusion that home signifies many things to Americans. The home is the setting of the family, provides protection and represents security, is “an affective anchor with sacred connotations,” an expression of one’s identity, and provides privacy (p. 317 ). She also found the cultural meanings of homeownership and the threat posed by contamination. Homeownership is part of the American dream, which is thought to promote independence and confer rights to Americans. Homeownership makes one a “homeowner,” one that is part of a respected community that all strive to reach. The home is everything.
Fitchen argues, “toxic contamination of the home poses a threat to the assumptions people have about themselves and about the way life is suppose to be” (p. 320). Through her research on the meanings of the home and homeownership for Americans, the author finds a justifiable explanation for emotion and reactions of those who have had their homes contaminated. As the threat of toxic chemicals continue to rise, it will become increasingly important for cultural meanings Americans attach to their residential environments to be understand.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHRISTINA M. GORDON North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Fitchen, Janet M. When Toxic Chemicals Pollute Residential Environments: The Cultural Meanings of Home and Homeownership. Human Organization, Winter 1989 Vol.48(4): 313-324.
Janet Fitchen examines a potential link between the toxic chemicals found in residential communities and behavioral mind-set of the homeowner. The focus of the study in-volved several communities with households having drinking water contaminated by toxins. Investigating these particular households, Fitchen’s research confirms that pol-lution represents an attack on central cultural institutions of home and homeownership. When toxics affected household drinking water, specific meanings of “home” in American culture were shaped by human perceptions of pollution. These perceptions formed concepts, assumptions and values held deeply by Americans. Fitchen refers to Americans responding to contamination of residential environments as exhibiting “cul-tural rationality.” This point of view is opposite the view of government officials who consider these Americans to be irrational and unnecessarily hysterical. Fitchen argues, environmental government personnel and agencies need to be sensitive to the “…cultural assumptions and values that shape people’s perceptions of pollution”. This ethnographic study contends that attention to cultural characteristics of home and homeownership would help prevent and resolve problems created by contaminated residential neighborhoods.
The focus of the study is to describe the experiences of the individuals through their senses. In this case, Fitchen examines the people’s attention to home and homeowner-ship. Homeowners with contaminated property; their understanding of the phenomena and their coping process is the focal point. They only comprehend their experience and consequence. A subjective experience incorporates an objective reality. The author as-sumes that there is an essence to the shared homeownership experience and that basic elements of this experience are common to the members of this culture. The research describes cultural assumptions and values that shape people’s perceptions of pollution and the meaning of home. Fitchen hypothesizes “…water contamination might be per-ceived by residents as a particular calamity because in addition to threatening personal health and financial investments, it also called into question people’s assumptions and values connected with the home.”
In her summary and conclusion, Fitchen recognizes “…the institutions of home and homeownership in American culture was dramatized in these actual instances of local groundwater contamination; but the cultural definitions of these institutions have his-torical depth, societal generality, and cultural centrality far beyond these pollutions set-tings.” Her focus was to present an argument that people do not respond simply to the problem of polluting chemicals, but also to their special feelings about the particular environment that has been polluted. “The anthropological contribution to smoother resolution of such contamination problems lies, in part in helping agency personnel and trained technicians of local, state and federal levels being irrational in their responses, the people who are responding intensely to the invasion/inversion of their home envi-ronments by toxic chemicals display cultural rationality: they are responding in term of deeply held American cultural concepts of home and homeownership.” The study presented a persuasive and thorough ethnographic line of reasoning for the importance of applying the utility of anthropological understanding to human perceptions and behavior in polluted environments. The meanings of home and homeownership sheds light on the need to be sensitive to the human condition. Fitchen makes a strong case for the use of anthropological research in that pollution cases could be traced to the many behavior patterns of ordinary contemporary American life.
DENNIS PUHALLA North Carolina State University (Professor Anne L. Schiller)
Flanders, Nicholas E. The Alaska Native Corporation as Conglomerate: The Problem of Profitability. Human Organization, 1989. Vol. 48 (1). 299-311.
The first policies about mainstreaming Alaskan Native Americans in to the dominant society came in the 1930’s following a course of separation instead of assimilation. The first policies mainly dealt with issues of removal as Native Americans wanted hunting rights and white Americans wanted private ownership of land. On one level these policies were a relatively innovative attempt to help the Native Alaskans economically. However, they were yet another attempt to assimilate Native Americans in to the dominant society. Seeing assimilation into American society as necessary to ending all previous Indian policy, Legislators felt that directly imposing the dominant society’s institutions would solve all problems. The article suggests the policy was, is, by and large a failure.
The chief failure of the corporation as an institutional form came from the economic downturn in the 1980’s, but also the cultural inappropriateness of such an institution to the relative culture and social organization of the Native Alaskans. These corporations also find themselves politically and economically ineffective with regards to the Native Alaskan culture. ANCSA Management is faced with a problem: they are expected to generate profits, yet invest in the region to encourage growth. The region lacks a great deal of infrastructure and human capital, thus it is difficult for the corporation to invest in a low-profit area. The maximization of one goal is incompatible with the other.
Flanders’ article does not serve as a broad review of ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971) which generated these institutions and corporations. Rather, the article adresses the problems that any corporation could face in the circumstances of economic and political backfire as well as the lack of cultural niche. Flanders’ primary goal is to offer an economic juxtaposition of how modern day institutions fail when they are imposed on native cultures. The article advocates a permanent solution not based on the imposition of institutions of the dominant society, but a permanent solution comes from the impracticality of ANCSA. Flanders advocates that a corporation should act as purely an economic entity, not as a mode of reform for social policy.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JARED HUSKETH North Carolina State University. (Anne Schiller)
Flanders, Nicholas E. The Alaska Native Corporation as Conglomerate: The Problem of Profitability. Human Organization, 1989. Vol. 48 (4): 299-312.
In this article, Flanders explores the negative effect of corporations on the society of the Alaskan Native. His study focuses on the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 and recent amendments made to the Act. Flanders addresses the problems and misleading notions of the conglomerate styled corporations as well as utilizes data from reputable sources including the Alaskan Department of Revenue in this study. Also Flanders cites studies conducted during the initiation of the ANCSA as well as later studies conducted sixteen years later. Flanders believes that conglomerate styled corporations are of no use to the Alaskan Native and cannot bring the desired outcome the U.S. government had envisioned.
The U.S. government initiated the ANCSA to bring Alaskan Natives into American society by introducing them into the commercial economy. The Act specified “954.6 million in cash and simple fee title to about 17.8 million hectares of land to be transferred to over 200 new Alaskan Native-owned corporations” (299). Following its enactment, concern had arisen questioning the “appropriateness of corporations.” With the Bering Straits Native Corporation filing for bankruptcy, these concerns magnified.
The Amendments of 1987 sought to help falling corporations so that bankruptcy would be a final resort. The Amendments stated that land be held in a land bank and “exempt from taxation and protected from adverse possessionYand involuntary dissolution of the company” (309). However, Flanders points out that within the Amendments is the condition that shareholders are the direct trustees of the estate, the land. If a shareholder decides to sell, for example, if a Alaskan Native had been mislead that the corporation was going bankrupt, they lose “interest in the trust,” or their rights to the land (309). Unfortunately a thorough knowledge of corporate process is required to filter through the exceptions and implications of these acts and amendments, knowledge that the average Alaskan Native has had no previous use for. In the end, the Amendments gave more options for protection to corporations while overlooking the needs of the Alaskan Natives.
In his conclusion, Flanders reasserts that conglomerate styled corporations are unnecessary for the Alaskan Native, and if they continue Alaskans face losing control of the lands they require for sustainability. He urges for Native developed corporations to be funded by the government and not imposed. Land is not a “corporate asset” and to think or do otherwise, “might result in a parallel to the General Allotment Act,” which was another attempt to “civilize” Alaskan Natives into mainstream America by way of family farms (310).
GARRETT SCALES North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Fleras, Augie. Inverting the Bureaucratic Pyramid: Reconciling Aboriginality and Bureaucracy in New Zealand. Human Organization 1989 Vol. 48(1): 214-225.
By focusing on the Maori Affairs Department in New Zealand and Maori aboriginals, Fleras addresses the contrasting views and relationship between bureaucracy and aboriginality. The bureaucratic views are often counterproductive towards the aboriginal people and government authorities are left having to meet demands of both sides. Fleras analyzes the attempts and successes of the Maori Affairs Department to incorporate aboriginal elements with the bureaucracy by focusing on philosophy, structure, style, and commitment. Difficulties remain within the Maori Affairs, because the bureaucratic framework of the Department clashes with the newly developed Maori nationalism.
From a sociocultural perspective, problems arise when the government intervenes in the lives of aboriginals. Although, according to Fleras, this is not the case for the Maori Affairs Department. “Events in New Zealand have transpired recently which have begun to dispute the conventional view of government departments as inconsistent with client needs” (p. 216). Fleras provides historical evidence of the Maori policy administration that depicts the successful relationship that has developed between the administration and indigenous people. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Department was unable to improve the socioeconomic status of the Maori. A powerful bureaucracy was created that infringed upon the lives of the Maori by declaring what was best for these people. This system was debureaucratized to develop, “Tu Tangata,” which is an administrative policy that developed Maori nationalism and socioeconomic equality (p. 217). There are efforts towards finding a “middle way” between the state and Maori (p. 221). Fleras concludes that finding a compromise between bureaucracy and aboriginality, without alienating either group, will be a difficult procedure.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DEBORAH BAILEY North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Foster, Susan. Social Alienation and Peer Identification: A Study of the Social Construction of Deafness. Human Organization, 1989 Vol. 48 (3): 226-235.
Through a series of excerpts from interviews with deaf people, Susan Foster shows how communities are created through the common trait of deafness, as well as through the alienation of deaf people by the hearing community. She shows how the deaf community is often considered ‘deviant’, not defined with the negative implication of the word commonly reserved for troublemakers, but as a separate societal group that accepts their role as being ‘different’ or ‘outsiders’. The acceptance of the outsider role leads to alienation by the hearing community and strengthens the ties between people who find common ground in being alienated. Using the interactionist perspective Foster “would suggest that ‘being deaf’ is also a social role which is defined and maintained through interactions between hearing and deaf people” (p. 227).
In her research, Foster divides social interactions into four groups: family, school, work and community. In each of these social scenarios, she finds that deaf people are often alienated from the group due to the simple lack of hearing ability. The hearing community often fails to make an effort to include deaf people in conversation by either by writing things or talking slowly so that lip reading can be done. Often, many family members of deaf people do not learn any type of sign language or finger spelling because their main social focus is on the hearing community (p.229). In order to cope with the difficult social situations between the hearing and deaf communities, many deaf people find solace in being with other death people. Almost all of the informants in Foster’s study belonged to some social group that was exclusively for members of the deaf community, including clubs, organizations, close friends or even a spouse (p.232).
Foster’s discussion shows that the deaf community was a creation of the interactions between the deaf and hearing communities. The deaf community was formed through the rejection by the hearing community and acceptance by those who are already deaf. The people in the study were not born into a deaf community, but became aware of such a social group through interactions with those in both the hearing and the deaf realms of social interaction, thus creating a ‘shared perspective’ of the meaning of deafness in American Culture (p.233).
CLARITY RANKING: 4
DALLAS BRAY North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Foster, Susan. Social Alienation and Peer Identification: A Study of the Social Construction of Deafness. Human Organization, 1989 Vol. 48(3):226-235.
In this clear and well-written article, Foster explains that the importance of shared experiences that lead deaf people to seek interaction within the deaf community has not been a focus of previous study. Foster uses both a symbolic interactionist and social constructionist approach when looking at deafness and the deaf community. Foster borrows concepts from the deviance literature such as Becker’s Outsiders and applies this analysis of deviance in explaining deaf individuals’ reactions to their treatment by the larger society. Many deaf individuals are treated as outsiders or are ignored in interactions with people who have normal hearing. Thus, they seek a group in which to discuss the intimate details of their lives which they cannot discuss with those in the hearing community. Foster discusses two factors that affect a deaf individuals’ relationship with the deaf community. One is how well (or not) the deaf individual fits in with the hearing society considering communication difficulties and the lack of acceptance in the hearing world which can bring about alienation. The second factor is that deaf individuals typically have a shared experience of the larger society. They experience difficulty in communicating with hearing individuals and also experience an emergence of a deaf identity. Foster argues that the deaf identity is an organizing element in the social world of deafness and creates a strong group orientation.
Foster documents the experiences of 25 deaf adults who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Foster had asked the respondents to provide a life history through an interview with open-ended questions. Through respondents’ discussions of their experiences with family, school, work, and community, Foster found that the lack of acceptance in the hearing world is pervasive and that deaf individuals can be stigmatized or left out when trying to interact in hearing society. Deaf individuals have to struggle with trying to be understood and grow accustomed to this added burden. This linguistic aspect also plays a role in their sense of identity in the deaf community because they share a common language such as American Sign Language (ASL) which allows deaf individuals to express deeper intellectual and emotional concepts with one another.
Foster also interviewed hearing individuals who supervised deaf people and commented that she was “struck” at how often these supervisors would say that deaf people are shy, quiet, or loners. Foster argues that these interpretations by hearing individuals should show how deafness is a social role (though I think the term status is more applicable) that is constructed by hearing people rather than based upon how deaf people really feel.
In conclusion, Foster argues that social researchers need to compare the development of the deaf community with the histories of other oppressed groups. Foster’s analysis points out well that the handicap of deafness is due in large part to the responses of the larger society. In conclusion, she argues that at some places and times, deaf people are not seen as handicapped and that this can definitely be the case if the larger community would make more accommodations to embrace all of its members.
BOB ROBINSON North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller).
Grobsmith, Elizabeth S. The Relationship between Substance Abuse and Crime Among Native American Inmates in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. Human Organization Winter, 1989 Vol. 48, No. 4: 285-298.
Elizabeth Grobsmith, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, interviewed 45 Native Americans incarcerated in the Lincoln, Omaha, and York facilities. Included in this study were men and women with the following tribal affiliations: Omaha, Winnebago, Chippewa, Ponca, various sects of the Sioux, and mixed affiliates. Data were gathered from two primary sources: inmate histories reflected in records maintained by the Nebraska Department of Corrections, and personal interviews with Indian inmates who consented to participate in the study (285). This article discusses the strong correlation between substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, and criminal activity resulting in long-term incarceration of Native Americans. Discrepancies between prison computer records and ethnographic interviews introduce the need for instating new prevention and rehabilitation methods. Grobsmith concludes that treatment programs “geared toward Indian culture and spirituality may enjoy greater success than those lacking specific cultural orientation” (296).
Grobsmith notes that ANative Americans are said to have the highest arrest and crime rates of any ethnic group in the nation (Jensen q.o. 286) and, in the last four decades, this rate has remained consistently higher than for whites and other non-whites (Cross q.o. 286). Evidently, serious crimes such as rape and homicide occur with much higher frequency in the Indian population. Studies indicate that alcohol is involved in 75% of all fatal accidents (Levy q.o. 286) and 90% of all Indian homicides (French q.o. 286). In her discussion of the case studies, Grobsmith focuses a great deal of attention on substance abuse as a contributing factor to the disarray of Indian communities. Grobsmith reports that alcoholism is becoming a passed-down tradition, parental alcoholism compromises the stability of the Indian family through termination of parental custody (Lex q.o. 287), and weakening of family structures impacts youth delinquency as a result of inadequate parental supervision (Flute q.o. 287). According to Grobsmith, these statistics, amidst various others, exemplify a direct correlation between substance abuse and long-term incarceration among Native Americans.
Upon recognizing the significantly high number of Native American inmates and the strong correlation with substance abuse, Grobsmith begins to question the effectiveness of treatment programs for Indian alcoholics. Alcoholics Anonymous is widely criticized in treatment evaluation studies because its approach appears to be incompatible with numerous Indian values (Mail q.o. 294). In contrast, it has been noted that “treatment programs that reflect Indian culture and incorporate native religious beliefs seem to be meeting with more success” (294). According to Grobsmith, this is evident in the Nebraska prison system as a result of the revitalization of native beliefs and practices among its Native American inmates.
Conclusively, Grobsmith cites that this study clearly supports the hypothesis that much of Native American crime is drug or alcohol related, that consumption of intoxicating substances plays a clear and definitively contributory role to offense commission, and that revitalization of and identification with Native American religious ideology plays a strongly supportive role in effecting Native American sobriety and rehabilitation (296).
CLARITY RANKING: 4
AARON BELL North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Guldin, Gregory Eliyu. Government and Industry: The Anthropological Study Tour in China: A Call for Cultural Guides. Human Organization Summer, 1989 Vol.48 (2):126-134.
Guldin proposes that there are several benefits for having anthropologists leading or co-leading tours throughout foreign countries. He himself took part in leading a tour of diverse Americans throughout China. The group consisted of mainly women that were unmarried or widowed and were mostly over the age of sixty; however, there were some young people and families that also took part in the tour. According to Guldin “the tour itself would be the focus of anthropological study,” (p.127) and the study focused on the preconceived notions and reactions that the Americans had about their trip to China, along with the advantages of having an anthropologist present on the tour.
In the study Guldin speaks to the disadvantages that the tourism industry has had on various cultures and their societies. Guldin found that some of the more serious tourists on his trip were concerned with how the people of China might perceive them, and perhaps negatively label them as “regular tourists” instead of part of a “study tour.” Also, Guldin mentioned several of the stereotypes that the Americans had about the Chinese before their trip and while they were there. For example, many of the tourists perceived the Chinese people as being “passive” and they seemed more interested in the more poor and rustic side of China then the aspects that were similar to America.
In order to get a better understanding of what the tourists thought of China and the Chinese culture before their trip, and how that might have changed after their visit, Guldin had them all do a questionnaire. Many of the attitudes of the tourists had changed and they were surprised to realize that the Chinese were not much different from Americans. From this tour and others preceding it, Guldin realized that in the tours the anthropologists needed to “emphasize cultural relativism, the culture concept and the integrated nature of culture,” (p.132) in order that the tourists have a better appreciation for the people they are visiting. Guldin feels that by having an anthropologist present on tours to other countries, this helps the tourists to understand the cultures better and shed some of their biases. Through this type of tourism people are better suited for any type of “culture shock” that may occur because they are accompanied by an anthropologist who can open their eyes to the beauty and benefits of living in a multi-cultural world.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SARAH NARENSKY North Carolina State University (Dr. Anne Schiller).
Lemel, Harold. Urban Skill Acquisition Strategies: The Case of Two Turkish Villages. Human Organization, 1989 Vol.48(3):252-261.
Harold Lemel’s research in the Turkish villages of Kabak and Yildizli examines the strategies of urban skill acquisition and the factors affecting their selection in preparing children for non-agricultural jobs. Fundamental to this discussion is the central role of the household as the primary decision-making unit within the context of the Turkish socio-economic structure. To illustrate the application of his research to broader theoretical issues, Lemel highlights the necessity for the construction of decision-making models that are appropriate and applicable to the circumstances of third world societies.
Rural Turkish households confront the challenge of maintaining equilibrium between sustaining agricultural productivity for the maintenance of the household and preparing for the future livelihoods of their children. This is accomplished by either presenting opportunities for the acquisition of urban skills by means of a secondary school education or by means of apprenticeship, or by utilizing “family capital” for the establishment of a business (p. 252). Lemel argues that the selection of particular urban skill acquisition strategies varies “according to household wealth and agricultural production circumstances” (p. 253).
In support of this argument, Lemel discusses a broad range of interrelated socio-economic factors that affect the fundamental trade-off between household needs and long-term preparation. These factors include land inheritance, urban residence and migration, farm management, labor force burdens, and frequency and scale of agricultural activity. Particular attention is given to providing essential historical and organizational information concerning the process of urbanization in rural Turkey. Lemel effectively communicates the social organization of rural villages, equates varying agricultural circumstances in terms of productivity and capital, and demonstrates the role of land distribution, all of which are highly indicative of a neo-Marxist perspective.
Lemel delineates the practical application of his findings by proposing the formation of a cost-benefit analysis model that considers the range of manageable costs at the household and village level (p. 260). He further suggests that such micro-economic perspectives be considered in the structuring of Turkish public policies that aim to expand “access to educational and training opportunities” to rural communities (p. 260).
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ZUZANA CHOVANEC North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Martorell, Reynaldo. Body Size, Adaptation and Function. Human Organization Spring 1989 Vol.48(1): 15-20.
Reynaldo Martorell analyzes David Seckler’s hypothesis of “small but healthy” growth patterns. [Seckler's hypothesis involves developing children who are two standard deviations below the median of the reference population (16). This specified group of children makes up a significant proportion of third world populations.] Seckler agrees that wasted malnourished children are not healthy, and does not include them in his hypothesis. Seckler’s “Homeostatic Theory of Growth” goes against the traditional “Deprivation Theory”, which is the belief that an individual is healthy if they grow along their genetically determined growth curve (16). Seckler’s theory gives an individual several growth curves to follow based upon environmental influences. He states “smallness may not be associated with functional impairments over a rather large range of variation; but the system explodes into a high incidence of functional impairments at the lower bound of size” (16).
Reynaldo specifies four problems he finds with Seckler’s arguments: The cause of the stunting is unhealthy, linear growth retardation is a warning sign and not an adjustment to the environment, linear growth retardation also affects other functional domains, and stunted adults face particular disadvantages.
Reynaldo disagrees with Seckler’s claims that children can remain healthy as long as they avoid wasting. Reynaldo notes that the time growth retardation occurs is anywhere from the second to the sixth month and continues to three years of age (17). This is the period in which an individual weans off of mother’s milk and begins to utilize the local diet. Stunting is associated with complications due to malnutrition within this period of transition.
Reynaldo feels that linear growth is the best indicator of a child’s health. “Good growth means good health” (18). Reynaldo points out that once linear growth ceases, it becomes necessary for the body to use tissue reserves as an energy source to maintain the body’s vital bodily functions. According to Reynaldo, this is neither a benefit nor a healthy upbringing. Reynaldo also makes a correlation that poorly growing children are more susceptible to illness than those that follow a healthy linear growth. Reynaldo claims stunted growth affects other functional domains of an individual. He specifically identifies the increased susceptibility to illness of a stunted individual. This in affect could alter the ability of a child to explore and learn from their available environment.
Children can face some disadvantages as adults. Reynaldo notes that stunted growth could affect the work efficiency of adults in intense labor positions, such as sugar cane harvesting. [Due to the lessening number of positions of such high labor values, this argument was not very compelling.] He also discusses how women of greater height within societies where malnutrition is prevalent have a higher success rate of delivering healthy, surviving offspring.
Reynaldo offers many counterpoints to economist David Seckler’s “small but healthy” argument. Both Seckler and Reynaldo are vague with their logic at times and neither one is a clear victor in the debate. Seckler’s claim that people have varying potentials for linear growth is a point in which Reynaldo completely avoids. This claim in itself is the most compelling of the counterpoints offered.
CLARITY RATING: 4
DAVID ECKERT North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Martorell, Reynaldo. Body Size, Adaptation and Function. Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol. 48(1):15-20.
Poor growth among young children is an indicator of malnutrition and major functional impairment. By presenting the reader with four fundamental issues, Martorell rejects the hypothesis proposed by David Seckler that implies malnutrition in the world today is no longer a significant problem because a majority of the world is “small but healthy” (15). In contrast, Martorell’s critical points of view discuss why small is not healthy and the processes by which children become small.
The first argument proposed by Martorell notes that the process of stunting is unhealthy. Martorell believes the basic causes of stunting within a developing society are due to poverty, poor diets, infection and a reduced weaning period. By including diagrams, Martorell illustrates methods through which socio-economic factors influence growth of children in Third World countries. In addition, he presents velocity curves for child development in Jamaica, Gambia and Uganda, the amount of protein requirements for human development in boys, as well as the percentage of Guatemalan children who are ill with infections. Secondly, Martorell proposes “good growth means good health” (18). This principle is based on the assumption of modern public health, in which “a child who is growing normally is more likely to be healthy than one who is growing poorly” (18). He states that growth retardation is an early sign of severe nutritional deficiency among children and the best indicator of child health is shown as a result of linear growth. The third fundamental issue presented is the relationship among functional factors that cause insufficient cognitive performance. Poverty, for example, causes both developmental and physical problems, which he restates, reduces stature and produces undesirable outcomes (19). Lastly, Martorell focuses on functional implications and disadvantages of stunting in adults. He presents the relationship between body sizes and distinguishes among work productivity in males and females. With these propositions, productivity may be restricted in underdeveloped individuals with physically demanding jobs, while on the other hand, short women have a higher risk of infant mortality and delivering premature infants.
Overall, Martorell provides persuasive arguments as to why small is not healthy. By monitoring growth in children at an early age in order to detect health problems, he believes, “will reduce the risk of progression to severe malnutrition and death” (19). On the basis of his findings, he favors public healthcare and supports actions that prevent growth failure in young children.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ALEXIS PIERINO North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
McNabb, Steven. Logical Inconsistencies. Human Organization Summer, 1989 Vol.48(2):108-116.
In his analysis of the risk assessment procedure for petroleum exploration in off-shore Alaska, Steven McNabb explains why the impact of social science remains limited with regard to policy, in terms of both the scientists’ contributions and how they are perceived by the decision makers. He outlines the mistakes made in the Alaska risk assessment process that exemplify how this union of scientists and policy makers can result in poor science and poor policy when both groups are not aware of the potential for a “tacit ideology of science”(109), influenced by governmental expectations.
To make his point McNabb selected three areas of concern to scientists in impact assessment: biological resources, subsistence patterns, and state, regional and community economics. Looking at the assessment of each topic independently, McNabb explains how scientists find these three areas to be interrelated to varying degrees depending on the scientist’s area of expertise. One example that shows the problems resulting from the inconsistency is that the time frame for potential impact on subsistence patterns may not correspond to the time frame for impact on biological resources, although subsistence patterns are directly tied to biological resources. He then discusses the final stage of synthesis where the main problem between policy makers and scientists seems to lie. In synthesis, the disparities are misconstrued as misrepresented facts or differences in competency among the scientists. To remedy the problem, efforts are aimed at changing development scenarios, although the original scenarios had served as the basis for assessment. McNabb states that in the end typographic changes were made to disguise discrepancies so the assessment might better lend itself to policy formation. In a conclusive statement McNabb says, “a dynamic union of science and government… may combine the prejudices rather than the strength of each party”(114). He suggests a scrutinous paradigmatic transformation of risk analysis that will allow for good science and good policy.
McNabb’s use of background information relating to the environmental and economic conditions of the population is effective in demonstrating how incongruent data can result from an impact assessment; and how the incongruencies can affect the quality of scientific input resulting in poorly informed policy. His holistic perspective in observing the interests of the scientists and decision makers lends a convincing objectivity to this article. The depth of the problem as noted in the Alaska case study makes it difficult to identify a single issue with which to anchor the argument, but McNabb makes clear that the process of risk analysis is often contrary to its supposed purpose.
DENISE CERNIGLIA North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
McNabb, Steven. Logical Inconsistencies. Human Organization, 1989 Vol.48(2): 108-115.
The first thing Steven McNabb does to help his readers understand what point he is trying to make is by defining the term risk analysis which he says is the determination of the likelihood of an event, normally an undesirable one, based on a set of known or assumed conditions. This helps because he goes on to say that risk analysis underlies nearly all of the research that is conducted by government agencies, especially with programs related to human or environmental impacts. As you probably already gathered, the title speaks of inconsistencies which he is directly linking to the environmental assessments made at Alaska Social and Economic Studies Program or more simply put the Alaska SESP. McNabb says that the dominant problem of risk analysis in the SESP is that scientifically defined risks associated with the scientifically defined scenarios of offshore petroleum operations differ from those of the government.
The assessment process has about ten impact topics, but he speaks of only three, biological resources, subsistence patterns and state and community economics. Natural resources are the lifeline to the Native American culture in Alaska. Over 60% of their diet comes from the fish caught in the nearby waters, and it is crucial to their economy because of the tremendous cost of shipping goods into the area. McNabb says this is a problem because of the lose term of duration–some species of animals might last many generations while some might only last one or two. These factors are not taken into account when the government makes their definition of duration and apply it to their policies, which can now for the most part affect natural resource abundance and distribution. Now if you apply the government’s policy of duration to sustenance patterns you will find it will create some more problems. Threshold duration separating minor or moderate impacts from major impacts in one year, as policy states, creates some problems because depending on which resources are in question. Some may take far more then one year to replenish themselves. Like anywhere else, natural resources affect state, regional and local economics, and now that there is offshore drilling in what is Alaska’s most important resource. There will almost defiantly be a pro/con relationship on the economic side, the state will get millions of tax dollars from the oil companies but almost none of that will go back into the local communities that had to suffer in order obtain the “dirty” money.
In conclusion, Steven McNabb in this article has the right view on science and government policies. He blames not only the narrow minded policy makers who make up these government funded programs and don’t see or listen to all sides of those who will be affected, but he also blames the scientists who give false claim of absolute certainty in their science. In the end there will always be theoretical differences between the government and science but there must be a more conscientious effort put forth to avoid the hazards of everyone within the framework produced by the risk assessment process.
WILLIAM ROUMANIS North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Messer, Ellen. Small but Healthy? Some Cultural Considerations. Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol.48(1):39-51.
Using multiple studies of cultural differences in perceptions of “health, body size, food intake, and eating behaviors,” Messer attempts to argue against the ASmall but Healthy” hypothesis. The SBH hypothesis asserts 4 things: 1-that populations with low height for age, but normal weight for height, are Asmall but healthy” and adapt to lowered intake at no functional cost, 2-energy and protein requirements are set higher than necessary and reflect a Western cultural bias towards bigness, rather than an objective universal standard for food consumption and health, 3-that every sociocultural group possesses its local folk evaluations of what constitutes a good diet, appropriate patterns of food distributions, and “good health,” and that from their own sociocultural perspectives many populations are SBH, 4-abstemious food habits resulting in smaller size may provide successful biocultural adaptations at the population level to scarce resources. The article compares the claims of the SBH hypothesis to the anthropological data on the subject, which is little. There are 4 sections to support her argument against the SBH hypothesis. The Anthropological Data, Fold and Scientific Concepts of Nutritional Adequacy, Abstinence, Food Deprivation and Well-Being, and Adaptations at the Individual Versus the Population Level are the categories elaborated on in more detail.
Through case study examples and gathered data, Messer’s argument contains a few main points. There is little anthropological data on the health of populations alleged to be SMH. The perception of large size is not only a Western perspective, but also other cultures recognize the relationship between food intake, body size, and well-being. There exist cultural values on abstemious eating behaviors that contribute to short stature and leanness, occurring in the context of potential or actual food insecurity. Finally, the adaptive perspective fails to distinguish cultural concepts of what is good for the individual versus what is good for the population as a whole.
In her conclusion, Messer sums up the data that prove her argument against the Small but Healthy hypothesis. Messer points out where there still needs to be research done to make the conclusions air tight; one of these includes Messer saying, “Nor do most ethnographic accounts specify accurately the ranges of what are healthy or unhealthy degrees of fatness or thinnessY” (49). There is information that still needs to be collected to provide more nutritional facts and an actual study needs to be done to examine malnourished people. Her argument is presented in an organized way and she proves her point systematically using the data collected.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANNA BUCKNER North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Messer, Ellen. Small but Healthy? Some Cultural Considerations. Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol.48 (1): 39-52.
Messer examines the “small but healthy” (SBH) hypothesis in analyzing low height and weight averages for populations. The SBH theory states the following: 1) smaller size from decreased food intake is possible at no functional cost; 2) nutritional measures are based on Western standards that are not universal, so it is acceptable for some cultures to be below such standards; 3) each group has its own definition of a ‘healthy diet,’ defining appropriate food intake and distribution; 4) smaller size from decreased food intake can be simply a successful biocultural adaptation to the environment.
The author systematically criticizes each part of the SBH hypothesis in four sections. In her first argument, she explains that anthropological data on nutritional issues for SBH is scarce and broader data on food intake and size all point to a loss of functioning. In her second assertion, she claims that the importance given to larger size exists outside of Western cultures and there is little data to support smaller size as being ‘good’ for well-being. The author shows multiple examples of larger size meaning increased social stature, but the data gives little information on causality. In her third section, Messer concedes that the definition of ‘healthy’ is culture-bound and can fulfill a practical purpose of limiting food intake when there are limited resources. However, she contends that there are still long-term costs in these situations. Finally, the author claims that examples of diminished food intake are not necessarily “successful” adaptations because they still have long-term biocultural costs.
The author carefully rebuts each part of the SBH hypothesis, giving multiple examples from countless ethnographic studies discussing body size and food intake. She methodically gives examples from a variety of anthropological schools (social anthropology, psychological anthropology, and cultural ecology) as well as multiple geographic regions. She uses examples from numerous leaders in these schools, including Boas, Mead, DuBois, Evans-Pritchard, Gluckman, and Rappaport. The author sometimes loses the reader when trying to tie such examples to nutritional analysis, because they focus on group adaptation or the detrimental effects of decreases in food intake. To be fair, she does indicate that this kind of data is scarce. However, it is difficult to support this part of her argument with so little information. Messer does, however, maintain her basic argument that decreased food intake for whatever reason, be it cultural, environmental, or ritualistic, does have functional costs in the long-term and that the “short but healthy” hypothesis is not a functional theory.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
SARA MILANI North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Moles, Jerry. Agricultural Sustainability and Traditional Agriculture: Learning from the Past and its Relevance to Sri Lanka. Human Organization, 1989. vol.48 (1): 70-76.
Moles promotes four main points in his article: the need for sustainable and reliable agriculture in non industrialized nations, the importance in utilizing the wealth of information present in traditional agricultural systems, the role agroecology should play in the development of sustainable systems, and the specific impact that rash reinvention of an agricultural system has had on Sri Lanka as a nation. Moles arguments are well defended and clearly defined. Mole suggests that the problem with contemporary methods of increasing productivity is that they do not pay equal attention to all other facets of agricultural methodology. The costs of implementation of a system that is not environmentally balanced include: environmental consequences such as micronutrient depletion, erosion, and insect infestation; high costs of importation of resources relative to farmer income including oil and machinery; and health problems such as pesticide poisoning and starvation. Moles defines sustainability as “the capacity of an agriculture to maintain itself through the capture of solar energy and the recycling of materials through biological (including human) processes” (71).
Moles suggests that the reason contemporary agricultural solutions create so many problems is the “whole is dependent upon its interdependencies, each species to many others” (72). This interdependence makes the prediction of the effects of the manipulation of life forms near impossible. The idea of interdependence of species portrays Moles as the agricultural disciple of Spencer, a multilinear evolutionist. While importing the practice of traditional modes of agriculture, Moles interjects that traditional techniques have been adopted by cultures around the globe, which he presents as evidence of diffusion. The validity of traditional systems is linked to the birth and development over time of a management of agriculture free from modern technology, scientific resources, or initial investment of money. Humanity has existed in every climate imaginable, and therefore we have developed a practice of sustainable agriculture in every climate.
Moles then explains that a new government in power in Sri Lanka had unreasonable aspirations of low-cost electricity, increased irrigated acreage, improved transportation, improved communication, and low tax rates with little environmental controls for foreign investors. The result was devastating; debts skyrocketed due to the capital required for machinery, oil, fertilizer, and pesticides. As an example, in 1981 fertilizer prices rose 100% causing a decrease in fertilizer use by 18%. Soils were then being drained of micronutrients to the point of reaching bareness. At this rate the country will not be able to support its own population for much longer, much less export food to foreign countries. Moles suggests the re-implementation of the previous local agriculture system of forest gardens. Each dwelling has its own garden to attend to that contains a diversity of plant and animal populations. Vegetation provides for medicine, firewood, fruits and vegetables, sugars, timber, and temple offerings of flowers. Using the tropical rainforest as a model of dynamic biomass, useful plants are substituted while maintaining diversity of vegetation. This system is considered as high sustainability when measured in density of trees, diversity of species, and canopy closure.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
JULIA RISK North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Nespor, Jan. Strategies of Discourse and Knowledge Use in the Practice of Bureaucratic Research. Human Organization Winter, 1989 Vol. 48 (4): 325-333.
In this article Dr. Nespor addresses the issue of competition among researchers during any projects they may take part in. These researchers are constantly in contest with one another for “status, power, and autonomy” throughout the duration of the project (325). Nespor provides a hierarchal system of the persons involved with the project, beginning with a Research Director, an Assistant Director, followed by Research Assistants. Each of these positions is filled accordingly by a participant’s expertise and experience in a discipline. She explains it is the differences in disciplines that at times cause obstructions in the research process. She also distinguishes between the different forms of knowledge employed by the participants when making decisions concerning the means and methods in which to conduct actual research. The knowledge is broken down into two types, Stocks and Flows. The first, Knowledge Stocks, is described as rules and regulations that govern activity in the group. Knowledge Stocks can be separated even further in that some of the rules and regulations are formal and some are informal. The second type of knowledge is known as Flows. Flows are the results of understandings, interpretations, definitions of the situation, and organizational identities” that allow the participants to form coalitions or manipulate power in written or verbal presentations (p. 326). She uses components of an actual project to show how these terms affected the quality and the time taken in completing the project.
The beginning of this piece states the purpose is to examine tactics used by subordinate members of the group to increase power in this bureaucratic system of research. Nespor seems to raise the question in her article on whether the political struggle for “status, power, and autonomy” is good or bad for bureaucratic research (p. 325). She never clearly states her attitude towards the question posed. However she describes the decision making process with an example of a case study involving the aforementioned types of knowledge. Nespor illustrates the use of some of the terms mentioned above adequately, while leaving the reader guessing how other terms were utilized during the research process. Nespor did become a bit wordy in describing this situation as well as some of the terms listed earlier. She claims that these terms or tactics used by members of the research group both of “high” or “low” status, are created from discipline bias on what certain member(s) feel is the correct or superior way to conduct research. To support her opinion, Nespor includes dialogue of a staff meeting in which research assistants, with different backgrounds in the social sciences, debated upon expansions and reductions proposals. As this occurred the director and assistant director used their influence in the group to approve or disapprove of ideas submitted from the research assistants, but only as much as their power would allow. Although the article lost focus at times Nespor did well in her attempt to show how discourse and knowledge affects bureaucratic research.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
BENJAMIN SPARGER North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller).
Pelto, Gretel H. and Pertti J. Pelto. Small But Healthy? Human Organization, 1989 Vol. 48(1): 11-14.
Gretel and Pertti Pelto ask readers to see both points of views on David Seckler’s hypothesis, a person shorter in stature because of mild to moderate malnutrition, also called MMM, in childhood does not mean the person is unhealthy. Seckler explains that in childhood a body adjusts to the low intake of food, which is seen because of the growth rate slowing down. This growth rate helps keep the physiological equilibrium functioning. Seckler argues in his hypothesis there are no impairments because of this shortening of stature. Seckler thinks international nutrition programs should be directed towards small portions of food to families suffering from serious malnutrition.
Pelto debates this theory questioning the definition of the word “healthy.” To accept the small but healthy hypothesis, Pelto explains it must meet certain criteria. Children are unimpaired by malnutrition if the following ways of health are met: resistances to disease, reproductive performance, work capacity, cognitive skills, social skills and general socio-economic success. The article points out that there is not yet a full estimate of all the costs of growth stunting. It also points out that some of the variables are ambiguous and therefore difficult to measure, for example, social skills.
This article describes a study done on people from rural communities that have moved to urban settings and have had an advantage because their bodies are already adapted to reduce amounts of food. Marvin Harris, an anthropologist that has done research on the topic, says that Social Scientists need to look more at the long term causes and consequences of socio-cultural adjustments and adaptations. Harris says that there needs to be a more complex study done to understand what the effects of MMM have on individuals from a rural community moving to an urban setting. The research done on MMM has risks of not being researched entirely if it does not look at data that takes into account adaptational consequences of economic competition when going from rural to urban environment.
Another point that is brought up is adaptation, which has been defined as a way of coping. Malnutrition can lead to reducing adaptation potential. Since malnutrition reduces adaptation flexibility this can keep a village from changing. This is because they cannot make modifications for increased economic pressures since they are already under pressure from malnutrition.
In conclusion this article shows how there is a need for more research on the idea of “small but healthy.” The article points out some of the important issues that are being discussed, such as whether adaptation is being affected and if there is an advantage for people with MMM when moving from a rural setting to an urban setting. The main point however, is that more research needs to be done to fully understand the effects of MMM.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JULIA FRESHCORN North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller).
Pelto, Gretel H and Pelto, Pertti J. Small but Healthy? An Anthropological Perspective. Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol.48 (1):11-15.
The research put forth by the Gretel and Petteri Pelto is fundamentally an analysis of a hypothesis by economist David Seckler, who stated that people who experience mild or moderate malnutrition (later identified as MMM) in childhood are nonetheless healthy and well-adapted, particularly to the circumstances of marginal food availability, making them appear “small” in stature but “healthy” in nature. Seckler’s deceptively simple hypothesis (as described by Pelto) is intriguing because the challenges it establishes cut across several disciplines (specifically biological and sociocultural studies), as well as raising fundamental methodological and theoretical issues.
Throughout the research, Pelto plainly states that Seckler does not provide any extensive definition of what exactly is meant by “healthy” in his research. Seckler’s discussion of “no functional impairment,” however, implies a broad definition of health. It is this statement which results in Pelto stating “we would have to satisfy ourselves that persons who are smaller because of insufficient food intakes in childhood are ‘unimpaired’ in the following ways. . .” Pelto lists resistance to disease, reproductive performance, work capacity, cognitive capabilities, social skills, and general socio-economic success.
The previous list stated by Pelto leads to the next statement that “the ‘small but healthy’ hypothesis will most likely not be laid to rest until a more thorough ‘cost accounting’ is established, taking into consideration the entire array of possible impairments.” Pelto cites the work of Chavez and colleagues at the Instituto Nacional de la Nutricion in Mexico as the most extensive studies (to date) of MMM that exhibits some what sufficient time depth and scope of observations which signify the complex inter-relatedness of biological and sociocultural costs. Pelto goes on to address a major problem which all researchers should be mindful of when conducting research.
The problem of “quitting early” can arise in several ways as stated by Pelto, especially the neglecting of other possible types of outcomes and failing to consider longer-term costs. Pelto continues by saying that research on mild to moderate malnutrition runs some serious risk of “quitting early” if the data gathering does not consider the “adaptational consequences of economic competition in a delocalized, rural-to-urban environment”; which is fundamentally the environment where MMM is most common.
The analysis of Seckler’s hypothesis is concluded upon by Pelto stating that a great deal more research is needed to fully and completely explore all the implications of MMM in developing nations. Pelto adds on by saying that humane, and economically viable policies should be developed for the challenges ahead, for this hypothesis clearly represents a sector of interdisciplinary research in which scholars and researchers alike cannot afford to “quit early.”
CLARITY RANKING 4.5
Thomas H. LaCombe North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Peluso, Nancy Lee and Poffenberger, Mark. Social Forestry in Java: Reorienting Management Systems. Human Organization Winter, 1989 Vol. 48(4):333-344.
As in many developing nations, the remnants of colonial powers lie in forestry bureaucracies. These bureaucracies own and control land access much like their colonial predecessors. The indigenous people living in forest villages have no say in how they should grow trees or use the land because they live and farm on land owned and managed by the state. Peluso and Poffenberger address this common problem by providing a thorough case history of forest resource control on the Indonesian island nation of Java. In Java, the local farmers live in forest villages on State Forestry Corporation (SFC) land and depend on forest resources for subsistence. While the SFC continues to ignore the villagers’ interests, villagers are forced to take desperate measures, including wood theft, to make a living. In response, the SFC step up security measures, resulting in further conflict between villagers and the SFC paramilitary.
Peluso and Poffenberger analyze how a social forestry program was put into place within the SFC, reorganizing the management structure of a conservative bureaucracy in a developing nation. Peluso and Poffenberger then explain how the conflict at hand came into being. As the SFC began to realize the economic risk of their technical orientation, the social forestry program was put into place. This decentralizes the agency’s power and involves the local community in self-management. Peluso and Poffenberger look at how the work of two social scientists, Korten and Uphoff, plays an integral role in initiating the social forestry program. A working group, which includes Korten and Uphoff, is organized to help solve the land access conflict.
Three phases comprise the social forestry program, the first being diagnostic research. The research is designed to be an in-depth examination of the local people and their relationship to the forest and its resources. This provides hard data on the amount of land needed for village families to subsist. This research allows tremendous headway into implementing phase two of social forestry, the pilot projects. Concentrating on degraded forest areas, the pilot projects concentrate on a select number of villages to participate directly with SFC managers to determine land use. Although the pilot projects meet a number of problems in their first year, willingness to participate among SFC managers and forest farmers grows enough to implement phase three of social forestry: expansion. The expansion of the social forestry program in the SFC can be attributed to progressive, new leaders, more dedicated to maintaining the program’s efforts. In their final reflections, Peluso and Poffenberger attribute the relative success of the social forestry program to three factors. These factors include good timing, an effective research team, and a committed donor agency to fund the research, pilot projects, and expansion.
MATTHEW WHITE North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Peluso, Nancy Lee and Mark Poffenberger. Social Forestry in Java: Reorienting Management Systems. Human Organization Winter, 1989 Vol. 48 (4): 333-
Trying to rearrange the bureaucratic forestry system (the State Forestry Corporation or SFC) in Java was not easy. Add to that the mission to teach foresters how to be more culturally conscious and tolerant and the project may seem impossible. However, both these goals were accomplished, with a few bumps in the road, by a group of interdisciplinary researchers. The ultimate goal was to get the forest villagers involved in management decisions. In order to accomplish this, a two-phase program was set up. The first stage placed researchers and foresters in the villages for at least nine months to gain a better understanding of village life and culture. The foresters also used this time to build relationships with the villagers. The result was a bond between villagers with foresters and a feeling among villagers of more responsibility for the forest. The second phase was to set up pilot plots in 13 villages and to get the villagers to help with planting and caring for the plots. Also, the villagers were able to harvest some of the benefits, such as fruit, from the plots. During the course of the project, steps were taken to restructure the management system inside the SFC. The idea was that reorganization reorients or reverses management strategy to be a more “centrally guided, bottom up” (p. 336) approach, which would now include district SFC officers and field foresters in management and decision making processes. This way village foresters and field foresters felt they had more control and power over each project’s development.
Neither of the phases were without its problems and these are addressed in detail in the article. Everything from gender discrimination to sabotage of the plots, the authors not only addressed the problems but offer possible preventative measures that could have been taken and solutions to similar problems if they arose in the future. Peluso and Poffenberger state that the project’s success was due to three main issues: fortunate timing, when the social and government pressures on the program was to be more sensitive to native groups living around the forests, strategic placement of research teams inside the bureaucracy, and the agency’s commitment to continue improvements even after the end of the project.
Clarity Ranking: 4
KRISTINE CALLIS North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Rosen, Leora N. and Linda Z. Moghadam. Impact of Military Organization on Social Support Patterns of Army Wives.Human Organization 1989 vol.48 (3): 189 B 195
Rosen and Moghadam examine the “socio-environmental variables that influence the development of peer support among wives” of soldiers in the US Army (p.189). The data comes from an evaluation of the new COHORT system, which works to keep units together and in one place for longer than previous systems. The system has the hopes of boosting morale and cohesion within the units. The designers of the system hope to promote minimal disruption of families and encourage wives to reach out to one another. The study used COHORT units on rotation, COHORT units that were stationary, and non-COHORT units. Wives were surveyed from all three units and were distinguished by their husbands’ rank (officers, non-commissioned officers, or junior enlisted).
The ranking system of the army is believed to extend into the experience of the wives. Wives of low ranking soldiers receive less support than the wives of officers. The amount of integration into the social network depends directly on the rank of a woman’s husband. Wives of officers replied in survey questions that they felt supported by other wives and were friends with the wives. The wives of officers felt that they are expected to join and buoy their husband’s reputation by being active in the social scene. The less rank the soldier has, the less likely his wife was to report any friendships with other wives.
Many wives of junior-enlisted men expressed fear of damaging their husband’s career if they were to join the social network. They believed gossip could endanger his promotion or standing within his unit. There is some suspicion that joining groups could be a way for commanding officers to gain knowledge about their subordinates. Within their respective ranks, all wives reported having friendships with other wives but there were fewer cross-rank friendships. The wives of Non-Commissioned Officers seem to get left the farthest behind. Though NCO wives usually have the greatest knowledge of the army, they have low levels of peer support. Another source of the lack in support is animosity between the ranks. Often, as promotions occur, the men must sever friendships for the sake of maintaining leadership roles. The end of friendships between men can affect the relationships of the wives. The Army is careful to make sure appropriate levels of relations are maintained among the ranks. Soldiers are encouraged to fraternize with the other members of their rank so that authority may be maintained.
Missing in this article is an understanding of what could be done to improve relations among the ranks. It is understood that the COHORT units and officers’ wives receive better support respective to their environments, but there is little mention of ways the Army may help those left out or where the Army promotes the separation of ranks.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
MEGAN GUTHRIE North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Schrimshaw, Nevin S. and Vernon Young. Adaptation to Low Protein and Energy Intakes. Human Organization, 1989. Vol.48 (1): 20-30.
Through the examination of previous data, Schrimshaw and Young examine the effects of adaptations and accommodations as a result of reduced protein and energy intakes. Schrimshaw and Young argue that adaptation is a biological mechanism which will not usually modify an individual’s activity pattern. Conversly, accommodation is process in which the biological and cultural activities of an individual may be altered drastically. Individuals are able to successfully adapt to lower protein intakes with little biological or cultural change as long as the intakes do not fall below the minimum threshold. When the protein intake falls below the minimum threshold, the individual may suffer drastic health consequences, which occur in the form of accommodations. Some common accommodations include muscular atrophy, reduced reuptake of amino acids, or greater susceptibility to disease.
When energy intake is lowered, individuals are more likely to manifest cultural accommodations. To accommodate reduced energy intakes, the body can either consciously or unconsciously reduce voluntary activity, lose weight, or reduce the total energy requirement through lowering the basal metabolic rate. Some major cultural implications resulting from accommodation include a reduction in the amount of time an individual is able to work or the amount of energy available to devote to activities other than survival. Low energy intakes combined with low protein intakes can prove especially dangerous, as this makes the individual more susceptible to disease. These findings have some applicability in terms of third world countries, whose populations are more likely to need greater protein intakes to fight disease and overcome environmental obstacles.
Schrimshaw and Young adequately address the biological implications of reduced protein and energy intakes. The authors present good data, but fail to apply their findings to specific third world populations. As a result, Schrimshaw and Young only address general cultural implications which can occur with reduced protein and energy intakes. Consequently, the article does not address the specific cultural responses related to malnutrition and offers few suggestions to alleviate the problems of reduced protein and energy intakes in third world populations.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JUSTIN GOOD North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Scrimshaw, Nevin S. and Vernon R. Young. Adaptation to Low Protein and Energy Intakes. Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol.48(1):20-30.
Initially, the authors Scrimshaw and Young clearly make it apparent that the focus of their article revolves around the effects of inadequate protein and amino acid intakes and the “physiological and social” factors directly involved in determining sufficient energy intakes. Throughout the article, the terms adaptation and accommodation play roles in categorizing a person’s physical and social adjustments to situations of low protein and amino acid levels and low energy intakes. While the authors deem an adaptation as any bodily responses that do not result in future negative outcomes, an accommodation encompasses a body’s physiological and social adjustments that cause future harm to the individual.
By citing various studies on the nitrogen balance maintained in situations of differing protein intakes, the authors discuss the lower limits of bodily adaptations to “variations in protein intake,” and they are able to draw the line between adaptation and accommodation (p. 22). Just as diets in low protein intake incur differing bodily adjustments, an insufficient intake of amino acids affects the body’s rate of protein turnover, and adaptations can turn into accommodations if certain limits are not sufficiently met. In order to support this claim, the article uses a study performed by Young et al. about the metabolic changes in people on diets of three different levels of the amino acid leucine.
When considering studies on adaptations to low energy intakes and defining adequate levels, one must look at the information from a new angle-”what level of total energy expenditure is called for by their specific circumstances?” (p. 26). There exist three main constituents involved in “normal energy expenditure”-basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermogenesis, and physical activity (p. 26). Three main approaches the body takes toward adjusting to a low energy intake are: a decrease of voluntary activity (conscious or unconscious), weight loss, and a lowering of BMR. After examining all studies, the authors conclude that the primary factors involved in the body adjusting to low energy intake are food intake and physical activity. Though the body may be able to modify biological activities to survive at a decreased energy intake, the results may affect “work activities and . . . activities that are essential for household improvement, supplementary economic activities, food procurement,” and children’s physical and mental development (p. 27).
The research presented concludes the facts that when concerning children, any hampering of development via low protein or energy intake is considered an accommodation. In determining the acceptable “range of adaptation,” the physiological and social costs resulting from these adjustments must be considered, and there remains the continuing confusion among people as to the distinction between adaptation and accommodation (p. 29). The article’s initial goal of discussing the realities of adaptations and accommodations involved in the situations of low protein and energy intake are apparent from the beginning. While the terminology may be slightly confusing for a person not familiar with nutritional analysis, the point still comes across well. The data and studies presented by Scrimshaw and Young lend verifiability to their research and points of the article. The organization of the article is clear and understandable, as each section’s focus becomes immediately apparent.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ALEXA LOOMIS North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Stone, Linda. Cultural Crossroads of Community Participation in Development: A Case from Nepal. Human Organisation, 1989 Vol. 48(3): 206-213.
Stone discusses ‘Development’ from the vantage point of both international development agents and local recipients. She outlines what she proposes to be the main cause of problematic implementation and sustainability of international development schemes designed for use in developing nations. Discussing the theory of ‘community participation’ and its centrality to ‘development’, she lays the groundwork to posit the argument that fundamental differences exist between the perception of what ‘community participation’ is, what it actually does, and how it goes about accomplishing its goals. Stone indicates that ‘community participation’ traditionally is a fixed value laden vehicle of western concepts and cultural concerns and as such prohibits successful implementation of development programs and schemes in non-western cultured societies.
Using the Nepalese Tinau Watershed Project as reference, Stone offers detailed descriptions and accounts of numerous interviews elicited during the compilation of basic village ethnographies in five villages. Information is collected regarding fundamental concepts of what ‘development’ and ‘community participation’ in development is and informants are drawn from villages chosen to represent “…project interest [and the] ecological and ethnic diversity of the project area” (Stone 1989:208). Responses of informants are offered juxtaposed to answers provided by international development workers and government officials. The views examined reveal fundamental philosophical disparities that prohibit success. Disparities are found to exist in
1. what constitutes ‘development’ — villagers recognised development as the presence of concrete visible structures — schools, medical facilities and personnel, water systems and the presence electricity;
2. understanding of where development originates – it does not result from resources and initiative mobilized within the community, it comes from outside through contacts with personal networks;
3. how development is achieved – it is not how to change behaviours and attitudes but how to bring concrete visible structures to the village
4. what constitutes community participation – obeying the directive of the village council not ‘self-help’ or ‘self-reliance’
In her conclusion Stone uses this data collected, while completing her work in Nepal, to assert that misunderstandings of community cultural, social, and power-flow systems inhibit international development. Also that development programs will continue to encounter problematic implementation and sustainability as long as the ‘community participation’ component remains mired in western values and issues and remains inadaptable. She advocates focus that should be on developing models that work within the cultural perspective of the target population.
Stone notes in the article that progress in Nepal proceeded with marked success, on a multi-tiered level, through the utilization of a more informed cross-cultural perspective. Seen throughout Stone’s approach, and finds, are the underlying tenets of Cultural Relativism and its relevance to implemental, sustainable, development work.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ISHMAEL SMITH North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Stone, Linda. Cultural Crossroads of Community Participation in Development: A Case from Nepal. Human Organization June 1996 Vol.98(2):206-212.
In “Cultural Crossroads of Community Participation in Development: A Case from Nepal” Linda Stone acknowledges critical inconsistencies in the cross-cultural realities between Nepalese villages and Western development planners. Directly related to these inconsistencies, there also exists a discrepancy in both groups’ definition of “community participation” in development. Stone focuses her critical assessment on the cultural assumptions ingrained within these community participation programs. In a straightforward manner, she asserts that by simply implementing programs centered upon individualism, with no regard to cross-cultural discrepancies in values, “the development concept of community participation…may be creating an international arena for the expression of Western cultural values” (p. 207.)
Through these programs, which directly reflect the current era of globalization, the planners aim to provide basic necessities to poor villages while simultaneously promoting attitudes of independence and self-reliance. From the villagers’ perspective, however, they simply lack development in terms of electricity, schools, and other similar amenities. So for them, participation in this development entails obeying village councils by donating resources to the project. Many development projects maintain themes of equality that are not comparable to Nepalese socio-cultural frameworks. Stone suggests, “rather than insisting on the widespread adoption of these values, or this path to development, a more realistic alternative might be to accept and work within the local concepts of hierarchy and exchange” (p. 212.)
Although this article lacks much detail concerning specific Nepalese values, Stone provides a clear critique of the current condition of “community participation” in development projects. To neglect divergent cross-cultural realities displays a remissive attitude on the part of Western development agencies. As previously relayed by Stone, this attitude implies an objective of spreading Western values rather than a goal of altruistically providing assistance to developing countries.
CHELSI CRAWFORD North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
Tucker, M. Belinda and Johnson, Orna. Competence Promoting Vs. Competence Inhibiting Social Support for Mentally Retarded Mothers. Human Organization Summer 1989 Vol. 48 (2): 95-107.
Families in which the mother of dependent children is mildly mentally retarded often draw on social support networks to help care for the child or assist the parents. These support networks are largely comprised of the parents of the mildly retarded mother, and other relatives or benefactors such as group home operators. At the time this article was written, existing literature largely assumed that the impacts of support systems were positive. Tucker and Johnson state that little scholarship existed, however, on the support systems for the mentally challenged, particularly in relation to children and caregiving.
Over a two year period, Tucker and Johnson investigated the social support systems of twelve families in which the mother was mildly mentally retarded. Support for the mildly retarded mothers was manifested in ways such as help with shopping, transportation, finances, and primary infant care. Through their longitudinal study, Tucker and Johnson discover a range of behaviors in the individuals who comprise the support systems for these mothers. They found that supportive behaviors exist on a continuum between competence promoting and competence inhibiting. The article provides four sample cases, two that exemplify each extreme of the continuum. Generally, supportive individuals who are competence promoting believe in the inherent capability of the mildly retarded mother and encourage her self-reliance, help the mother in well-defined areas, have few conflicting responsibilities of their own (i.e. do not work, are financially stable), and have low levels of strain. Supportive individuals who are competence inhibiting, however, perceive the mildly retarded mother as inadequate, direct little effort towards training the mother, and have higher levels of strain (i.e. other dependents, full-time work).
Tucker and Johnson offer a model that represents their research findings. The three main components shown on the model are 1) the mentally retarded parents’ socialization for competence, 2) the support system’s perception of the parental competence, and 3) factors affecting the ability of the support structure to respond to the parent’s needs (e.g. the degree of strain on the caretaking system) (p. 102). Some basic statistical analysis was performed to show the relationship between competence promoting support and environmental strain. The extremely small sample size and compelling nature of the four case summaries render this analysis unnecessary to understanding the findings. Future work is encouraged to investigate the relationships among parental competence, social support and child outcomes.
COURTNEY THORNTON North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller)
West, Martin and Erin Moore. Undocumented Workers in the United States and South Africa: A Comparative Study of Changing Control. Human Organization, 1989 Vol. 48 (1): 1-10.
In this article West and Moore compare and contrast the policies of two leading economic powers and their methods of dealing with undocumented workers caught inside their borders. It is important for some readers to remember the racial policies of South Africa prior to black majority rule. There were laws in place called Apartied. This system of laws segregated people on the basis of race with three primary designations White, Black Africans and Colored (mixed race or Indian all those who were not White or African). The authors uncharacteristically used the broader picture to examine the problem and the net results. Typically individual case studies have been used, this enabled Martin and West to reach conclusions about the problems and results of the nations efforts to stem the tide of undocumented workers.
West and Moore do a great job of explaining how the U.S. where workers with out documentation are supposed to have rights and privileges. By exploring the data and their personal research it was found that the U.S. authorities largely ignored or side stepped the regulations. Officials used the workers native cultures against them, many had a fear of authority and did not come from an environment where they had rights. The U.S. and South Africa where the workers had no rights with the law were virtually identical in treatment and punishment for those caught working with out documentation.
In the U.S. the workers were rounded up at various times of the year when workers were known to be in the area. Largely this was done regardless of the laws stating where and when they could interrogate or detain workers. The rights of the workers were more fiction than fact. These practices varied little from those in South Africa. The primary difference being that the workers in the U.S. were from Mexico and the majority of the workers in South Africa were persons that until the creation of “homelands” had been citizens of South Africa. The work was also different for the men, in the U.S. workers were primarily agricultural workers and in South Africa they were mine workers. The women in both countries tended to be domestic workers. Both countries used tactics such as incarcerating and deporting children of the workers to get parents to leave.
The net results in both countries were essentially the same. Workers were fined and deported or incarcerated. They would be released and pay the fines and be back working in the same places within a few days or weeks. In the U.S. workers would “voluntarily” leave the U.S. to avoid a trail and record. They come back in a small amount of time. In South Africa the workers were fined and detained and upon release simply returned to work.
DAVID SILLS North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller).
West, Martin, and Erin Moore. Undocumented Workers in the United States and South Africa: A Comparative Study of Changing Control. Human Organization, 1989. Vol.48(1): 1-9.
The United States and South Africa attract vast numbers of undocumented workers each year. West and Moore explain the laws pertaining to undocumented workers, in theory and practice, and elucidate the occurrence of changes in these laws over the years. In theory, the macro level promotes laws and policies in the United States and South Africa. These procedures use enforcement constraints on the flow of undocumented workers, and provide an access to justice for those undocumented workers. The micro level aspect, in theory, explains that both the United States and South Africa have legality procedures that should be followed; although, in practice, these legalities do not provide a guarantee of justice for undocumented workers or access to this supposed obligatory justice.
The two legal systems in the United States and South Africa have similarities and differences. In the United States, undocumented workers are assumed innocent until proven guilty; whereas, in South Africa, the opposite assumption is understood, undocumented workers are found guilty until proven innocent. Both the United States and South Africa use a high rate of intimidation factor to effectively rid the region of undocumented workers. Both the United States and South Africa are dependant on the employment of seasonal undocumented workers. Several changes have occurred with the law in both countries. The United States and South Africa have changed the laws to not only affect the undocumented workers but their employers as well. Heavy fines are incurred through these systems. Unfortunately, the Aprosecution and deportation are for the most part ineffective and in both cases the state attempted to amend legislation to make the system more efficient@ (West, 8). In both the United States and South Africa, these explanations of the legal systems clearly show that, although, in theory, there is justice for the undocumented worker, in practice, there is no guarantee of that justice for the undocumented worker.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
APRYL JACKSON North Carolina State University (Dr. Anne Schiller)
Wilson, Thomas M. Large Farms, Local Politics, and the International Arena: The Irish Tax Dispute of 1979. Human Organization 1989 Vol.48(1):60-68.
Thomas M. Wilson depicts the social and economic problems faced by Irish farmers during the 1970s. The peak of their turmoil occurred in 1979 in response to a new tax imposed upon them by the government of Ireland, in conjunction with the newly established European Economic Community (EEC). Irish farmers have traditionally supported the two major political parties of their nation, the Fianna Fail and the Fine Gael. The Fine Gael was dominant until 1977, when Fianna Gail was voted into power by the largest majority in the history of the state (63). The support for the new government was largely based on opposition to the tax system introduced by the previous government (63).
In order to understand this vote, it is necessary to consider the events that took place in 1973 and forward. Ireland entered into the European Economic Community. The number of family farms had declined because of a change in the structure of agriculture that favored agribusiness, the development of new technologies, the consolidation of land, and the concentration and centralization of capital (61). As a response to these conditions, Ireland entered the EEC. Membership in the EEC was both a blessing and a curse. Initially, through opening a network of political, economic, social, and cultural ties, the EEC raised the standard of living, made industry the most productive in Irish history, shifted the bulk of exports to the continent, and made British cultural influences less important. However, the EEC also increased prices, unemployment, inflation rates, and put pressure of the citizens to understand political and economic affairs outside of the country (61). The citizens of County Meath were the most affected and powerful participants of this era.
Farms of County Meath were the largest in the nation. They were primarily beef producers. Most of these families profited in the first five years of the ECC because of higher prices, guaranteed markets, and available grants and credit. However, most were already elites in their area. They were merchants who had access to the best land and controlled the cattle trade. They helped form and lead farmers’ organizations, the most popular of which was the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). Their influence also controlled the elected council in local government (62). They benefited largely through their influence in politics during the years 1970 to 1978, when the volume of gross agricultural output increased by 35% (62).
The situation began to change because of the energy crisis that hit in 1979. The farms began to lose their credit, which severely impeded their ability to repay the investments they made during the period of prosperity. Their credit situation, along with a new proposed tax by the government enraged the Meath farmers. They had decided to organize and take action. This is the conflict presented by Wilson who encourages social scientists to consider the importance of the population’s role in policy formation and determination in the processes of policy decisions on such local populations (68).
The method of resistance for the Meath farmers was opposed to their traditional practices. Instead of supporting the other party that wasn’t in power (the Fine Gail), they turned against both parties, and thus the entire government. They mobilized the IFA and included farmers from all regions and every aspect of agricultural life. Such a movement was unprecedented in Irish history. The IFA leadership called for: “unanimous support for IFA leadership in Dublin, contesting the unconstitutional levy in the courts, voting the present government out of office…,refusing to pay any levy, and directing the County Council Committee on Agriculture to protest the government’s move” (64). “The implications were clear: farmers no longer could allow politicians the luxury to control services and policies. Farmer control had to be more direct and predictable” (65). The IFA eventually joined with their rival, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) to cooperate and coordinate complete resistance to the government (65).
The leaders of the movement ascertained that the goal of the farm association was: “a single taxation system, such as every other sector of the community had. And…farming organizations wanted to be consulted and involved in the drawing up of that system” (66). They no longer trusted the government to protect their interests. On February 28, 1979, the levy was dropped by the government, in consultation with the farming leaders.
In the following years, the IFA became the chief non-partisan and non-governmental research body in the nation (68). Irish farmers have united with other contemporaries of different nations to form COPA, an umbrella organization which brings together all the major farmers’ organizations from the Community of Twelve. The IFA’s presence is still in Ireland to affect all policy issues that concern Irish agriculture (68).
As the author notes, “The importance of these farming lobbies in all the nations of the Common Market highlights the differences inherent in national and international policy-making, when the needs of a national farming lobby can be at odds with its own national government but quite in line with the needs of transnational farmers and other governments” (68). Thomas M. Wilson provides a vivid example of his concern for investigation into the effects of policy decisions on local populations with respect to the importance of studying those same populations’ role in policy formation and determination. “The policy role that commercial family farmers will play in the advanced industrial societies will be a crucial one for themselves, and it should be an area of critical concern for applied social science” (68).
W. KURT RICHMOND North Carolina State University (Dr. Anne Schiller)
Zabawa, Robert. Farming Systems Research: Government Programs, Small Farms Research, and Assistance for Limited Resource Black Farmers Living in Alabama. Human Organization Spring, 1989 Vol.48(1):53-59.
Robert Zabawa attempts to use his experiences as a member of the Small Farm Rehabilitation Project (SFRP) of Tuskegee University, Alabama to demonstrate the effectiveness and shortcomings of so-called Farming Systems Research (FSR) in dealing with the problems of the domestic small-scale family farmer in the United States. Though the work of the SFRP was with small-scale black farmers in Alabama, Zabawa seems to suggest that the techniques found successful with this group would be useful in revitalizing small-scale family farming throughout rural America.
Zabawa names the SFRP as being the particular application of the techniques of FSR (a multidisciplinary, holistic methodology conceived by the US government that is used to aid in research, development, and extension of agricultural advances used internationally to foster agricultural development). The SFRP consisted of an agronomist, an anthropologist, an animal scientist, and an agricultural economist. The team worked with a number of small-scale black farmers in Alabama, and though the hindrances to the success of the farms differed from farmer to farmer, a few recurring difficulties were: 1Clack of education, 2Chigh debt and debt-to-asset ratio, and 3Clack of organization with the day-to-day running of the farms and management of the farmers= time between farm and off-farm work.
The SFRP divided the farmers into 20-year generational groups, viewing age as an appropriate frame of reference for helping the farmersCfarmers in the same age group seemed to share similar difficulties. By working with individual farmers, the team exposed them to various record-keeping practices, aiding the farmers to keep clearer track of their finances and their commodities. Specific practices were implemented to aid in the selection of ideal crops, maximizing the benefit from these crops; other practices were also implemented for livestock to help the farmers best manage their existing livestock and plan for and breed the most successful livestock for the future. The farmers were taught techniques to lower their debt-to-asset ratio, and taught techniques to help them deal with the ramifications of off-farm work (which most small-scale farmers, including those in this sample, have had to adopt on at least a part-time scale to subsidize their farming income) on their farm work. Zabawa lists various case studies to illustrate the effectiveness of the work of the team.
Zabawa concludes that the SFRP’s work had a positive effect on small-scale black farmers in Alabama, and concludes that the holistic approach of the SFRP allows them to work with farmers on a more indivualized, specialized basis that takes the historical and socio-cultural factors that lead to the current state of the farmers into consideration; his work with the SFRP suggests that this type of technique is the most effective in creating an organization that will best help to rehabilitate and service the small-scale family farmer in the US, as these so-called FSR techniques have aided in the advancement of small-scale agriculture in international settings.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
WILLIAM MATTHEW JACKSON SIMMONS North Carolina State University, Raleigh (Anne Schiller)
Zaman, M. Q. The Social and Political Context of Adjustment to Riverbank Erosion Hazard and Population Resettlement in Bangladesh. Human Organization. Fall, 1989. Vol. 48: 196-203.
The subject of this article, the Brahmaputra-Jamuna floodplain of Bangladesh, is a place that is victimized by frequent flooding, and the people who live there are always in a state of inconsistency. In a typical year, one-tenth of the country is severely flooded when riverbank slumping or erosion, caused by shifting of the river channels, occurs. Thus every year, thousands of citizens are forced to evacuate their homes. The citizens’ methods of resettling after a flood are dependant on socio-historical and cultural factors such as support from relatives and friends and the possibility of maintaining closer ties with their samaj, or kin-based local corporate group. Their range of choices for ideal sites is determined by factors such as kinship, landed interdependence, and other structural factors. Peasants without land and people without the security of employment are largely dependant on the rural landed elite for support.
What Zaman is getting at is that there are more factors for readjustment than just individual choice. There is a certain connection that exists between the rural social structure and the adjustment behavior of the displacees. He suggests that future natural hazard studies should consider the perceptual and behavioral variables within a society, as well as the behavior of the individuals. He concludes by saying that “Such a holistic approach has much to offer scholars interested in natural hazard studies” (203).
Zaman presents his information using hard scientific data made from the studies of other researchers. For example, he includes three tables within his article which show the reader how he came up with the numbers he mentions in the article. Zaman claims that “A total of 163,092 acres has emerged (see Table 2), according to Landsat imagery taken in 1979-1980” (201). Table 2 is a two-column list entitled “Accretion of Land in the Lower Meghna Delta (up to 1980)”. This table lists the district in one column and the accretion of land (in acres) in the other, and then adds all the accretion numbers up to get the total of 163,092 acres.
Another way Zaman proves his data is accurate is by adding, in parentheses, the names of the people who came up with the statistics that he uses in his article. He states that the large army of landless people is “currently estimated to be over 50% of the total rural households of Bangladesh (Jannuzi and Peach 1980)” (197). By reading the works of Jannuzi and Peach, we can make sure that the statistic is accurate. Zaman also added quotes made by citizens with whom he had spoken to help the reader get inside the minds of the Bangladeshi people.
ERIC PALMER North Carolina State University (Ann Schiller)
Zaman, M.Q.. The Social and Political Context of Adjustment to Riverbank Erosion Hazard and Population Resettlement in Bangladesh. Human Organization, Fall, 1989 Vol. 48 (3): 196-205.
People living within the Brahmaputra-Jamuna floodplain of Bangladesh are forced to endure many hardships in their daily fight for survival. Among the most prevalent of these hardships is the constant threat of land loss due to riverbank erosion. Approximately one million people each year are displaced from their land and homes within this floodplain in Bangladesh. Zaman examines and explains human responses and adjustment to river bank erosion within this area in Bangladesh. Particular attention is paid to how adjustment choices are determined by the existing village social structure which up to this point had seldom been studied.
The article is arranged in four parts: (1) a description of the ecology of the Bengal Delta, (2) a critique of current hazard studies, (3) patterns of responses and adjustments to dislocation in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna floodplain, and (4) a brief summary. Within the ecology section, the severity of the dangers caused by flooding are explained in greater detail. While the flooding helps to make the land fertile, it also brings about a whole new set of problems for the rural communities in this area. As homes and land are being inundated with floodwater, new areas of land called char emerge from the riverbed. These new areas of land are viciously fought over by locally powerful landowners called talukdars in order to expand their wealth and control of the area. In the next section, Zaman states that few studies to date have looked at the social adjustment aspect of natural hazards. Zaman stresses the importance of viewing individual responses in the proper socio-political and historical context. The next section of the article goes into detail about the patterns of responses and adjustments by those affected by riverbank erosion. The roles of kinship, landed interdependence between landless peasants and powerful landowners, and other local factors are discussed in relation to the responses of the individuals in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna floodplain. Landless peasants are almost entirely at the mercy of the talukdars in their ability to find a new home. The search for a new home is made increasing difficult by the desire to stay close to kin groups. This desire often keeps peasants tied to an area that, in a short time, will be flooded as the local rivers change course once again. Zaman concludes the article by arguing for a more holistic approach for the studying of natural hazards than has been presented in the past.
Zaman effectively paints a picture of the difficulties and uncertainties people face in their daily lives in the Brahmaputra-Jamuna floodplain. The reader is left with a clear understanding of these hardships and the reasons underlying the continuation of their struggles. At times the article seems to take the form of a much needed social commentary on the area instead of a call for more holistic studies of natural hazards; however, given the nature of the study it is difficult to not attest to the suffering and difficulties caused by riverbank erosion.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
MIKE MCMILLAN North Carolina State University (Anne Schiller).