Human Organization 2007
Acheson, Julianna. Household Exchange Networks in Post-Socialist Slovakia. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol. 66 (4):405-413.
Acheson is concerned with the development and role of exchange networks, most importantly between and within households, in post-Socialist Slovakia. As she points out, the networks can be witnessed within the pantry and cupboards of a rural Slovakian house, and show the complexity and range of the trade network that each household is involved in. Acheson uses two cases to show the role of the exchange network and how everyone in a community is linked and cared for to the best of everyone’s ability. Acheson lists the informal rules to the exchange network: 1) The base of any family exchange network is made of family members that have an obligation to help with the supply and care for others in the immediate family. Depending on the closeness of non-family or extended family, the level of obligation can increase, 2) The exchange of goods is based on ability to attain or produce the good oneself and the subsequent need of that good within the family, 3) Networks can be used to get a specific good that is known to be needed within the family based on the familial obligations; members have also been known to accept gifts and give what they can back in abundance when possible, 4) Almost all goods can be traded and exchanged within the network, and some goods have a higher “value” than others, like those produced within the family, though the network is not closed to commercially manufactured goods, 5) A received good can be traded and re-traded within the network and does not necessarily have to be used by the recipient, 6) Repaying in the form of money is not considered acceptable, but rather giving a gift of equal need or use is seen as acceptable, 7) Parents are expected to support and provide for children, even when they are grown and no longer live at home, just as children are expected to care for parents in their older age, 8) Those whot make more money or visit foreign places are expected to distribute as much as possible to as many people as possible within the network upon payment or return, and 9) Family members are expected to contribute labor where needed based on gender coding; men will perform manual labor and women will watch daughters, sisters, or neighbors children at a moment’s notice. This network reflects the societal norms and values that exist in rural Slovakia of taking care of one’s own. Family members who do not contribute receive negative sanctions, and independence is seen as an untrustworthy characteristic.
WILSON, JESSICA University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Bender, Andrea. Changes in Social Orientation: Threats to a Cultural Institution in Marine Resource Exploitation in Tonga. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol. 66(1):11-21.
Andrea Bender concentrates on the social orientation within the Tonga community. She suggests that the traditional values held within the community, such as sharing food resources and selflessly helping those without question, acts as a social glue holding the community together even when the rest of the world around them may be trying to westernize them. Bender suggests that even the tiniest change in this traditional social orientation may be what unravels this tight knit and codependent society. If tradition slowly ceases in its importance, the balance is thrown off within the social structure as well as the natural resources the community depends upon.
Bender demonstrates this theory by looking at two villages in Tonga, the Lafanga and the ‘Uiha, and how their fishing strategies reflect their social orientation. Lafanga fishing is still mainly substance based, while ‘Uiha fishing has become partly commercialized. The difference may seem slight but is reflected within the social orientation. Lafanga is more of a traditional village and the fishermen organize themselves in flexible and relaxed teams. Their goal is to fulfill their social and economic responsibilities. Some competiveness happens more for social than economic reasons. The more fish one catches and shares with the community, the more that social prestige is enhanced.
The ‘Uiha fishermen are in a fishing club which organizes them and provides boats and necessities. The club, in turn, buys the fish and then sells them at the district center. Originally, fishing clubs were in place to fulfill local economic obligations, and although those obligations no longer need to be fulfilled, they are still in place mainly to provide the majority of income within the village. Competitions are stronger than in Lofanga and are more for gaining higher economic prestige than social, and the sharing has inevitably been restricted to close relatives and club members.
Bender concludes by suggesting that even though marine resources are still highly important for both villages as a means of economic and social dependence, the way they go about exploiting these resources impacts their social structure. The more cooperation within the group, the more reliance on social sharing that reflects a highly noncompetitive and relaxed social orientation. On the other hand, a slight change of social and independent goals toward personal economic enhancement rather than social enhancement creates a divide between the individual and group, thus changing the social orientation.
RASMUSSEN, HEIDI University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Blount, Ben G. and Ariana Pitchon. An Anthropological Research Protocol for Marine Protected Ares: Creating a Niche in a Multidisciplinary Cultural Hierarchy. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2):103-111.
The issue introduced in this article is the focus of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in relation to anthropological views. The article discusses MPAs in terms of socioeconomics and attempts to answer theoretical questions based within a cultural hierarchy on marine habitats that can be affected by human activity in a positive or negative manner. First, a brief historical overview of MPAs is presented to show that these habitats are being created yearly in vast numbers. The leading factors that contribute to the creation of these MPAs include multiple criteria and can be applied to different regions but ultimately creating an MPA. A valid reason pointed out by the authors for MPA creation is to prolong a species within certain environments of the world. Secondly, the authors focus on the role anthropology plays in the development of these MPAs. The authors discuss the measures taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help prioritize the goal needed to be accomplished within these natural habitats. Anthropology and the tie to socioeconomics is repeatedly discussed as being a subcomponent within a diagrammatic cultural decision making, a model that proposes a structure between the interrelationships of a cultural reality within the research on MPAs. Lastly, the author proceeds in the direction of what is needed in order to have a high success rate within MPAs, such as a large increase in fish populations, but also emphasizes the importance of not overstocking as it may become detrimental towards the environment and even cause overfishing and depletion of an entire species of marine life. Balance between an ecological and human world is seen as the only solution to the survival of these MPAs.
SCHWANTOR, DAVID University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Burke, Nancy J. “…As Soon as She Stepped off the Plane”: Understanding and Managing Migration, Chronic Illness, and Poverty in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol. 66(4):380-388.
Burke examines the management of diabetes and interaction between patient and health care providers and clinics in relation to the experiences of a Cuban immigrant household that was resettled to the slums of Albuquerque, New Mexico and their grandmother, Maria, who has type 2 diabetes. The author draws from her experience with the family in New Mexico as well as research done in Cuba. The author first outlines the background of the study, the context, and the methods used to perform the study. The author then discusses type 2 diabetes compliance literature and how the Cuban immigrant household managed compliance demands from the local clinics. Finally, the author looks at how this information can be applied to future policy decisions regarding healthcare.
The author begins the article by outlining the circumstances under which the situation at hand came to be. The family under study came to America as political refugees in two waves. Upon reaching Miami, they were resettled to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The grandmother of the female-headed household was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Miami. The author sets the scene by describing the subpar conditions under which the family lived and was expected to manage the grandmother’s diabetes through interaction with local health care clinics.
Burke continues by addressing type 2 diabetes compliance literature and how the immigrant household managed compliance demands from the local clinics. Compliance as defined by this article is the extent to which the patient behaves according to medical advice. The doctors who treated Maria placed her eldest daughter, Alba, in charge of making sure Maria was in compliance with their advice by monitoring her meals. The doctors were worried about Maria’s potassium levels as this can affect diabetes patients adversely. The first doctor who saw Maria threw away her blood pressure medicine as he thought it was causing the problem. The second doctor re-prescribed it and the potassium levels increased. Not knowing the previous doctor’s actions, the second doctor called her back in only to learn that the cause was the re-prescription of the blood pressure medicine. The mixed messages of the doctors caused unneeded stress in the lives of Maria’s family members and could have had serious negative effects on Maria’s health. It was impossible for Maria and her family to comply when the doctors did not communicate with each other. To further complicate the matter, the physicians did not take into account the familial situation when making compliance demands.
Burke concludes with a discussion of the implications this has for future healthcare policy. The author suggests that compliance among patients could be increased by coordinating communication among patients and physicians and between physicians caring for the same patient. By coordinating and making realistic compliance demands that parallel the reality of a patient’s life, a more efficient means of obtaining compliance can be achieved.
MITCHELL, JOSEPH University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Casagrande, David. Hope, D. Farley-Metzger, E. Cook, W. Yabiku, S. Redman, C. Problem and Opportunity: Integrating Anthropology, Ecology, and Policy through Adaptive Experimentation in the Urban U.S. Southwest. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol.66(2)125-139.
Problem and Opportunity is an article about just that, a new opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation as the result of a potentially cataclysmic problem. The authors begin by discussing the ecological problem; drought in the Southwest United States, and the anthropological problem which is the “problem definition club” (i.e. the ability to determine which issues receive focus belonging to a select few, while the issues affect many). They emphasize that the way in which an issue is dealt with depends heavily on the people who frame the questions and define the problems, and how they do so. Those who have the ability to develop and implement policies are not often open to outside input, but in the instance of crisis, social scientists have a shot at making a contribution.
This aligning of circumstances and rare opportunity frames the primary argument of the article; anthropologists and social scientists can and should collaborate with ecologists and natural scientists to better policy development and implementation. They support this argument with a general position on a defining characteristic of the discipline of anthropology, and with the outcomes of a case study in which such collaboration took place. First, it is asserted that anthropologists have, “an ethical obligation to improve people’s lives” (p.126), and that interdisciplinary collaboration allows for such action via a better ability to impact policy. Then, the case study of DCDC (Decision Center for a Desert City) at Arizona State University is presented as an example.
The authors explain that DCDC was created in 2004 after ASU was given a grant from the National Science Foundation to address the pressing issue of the possibility for prolonged drought and the region’s ability, or inability, to cope. In this group, policymakers, water managers, social scientists, and natural scientists, such as ecologists, discussed many issues pertaining to water scarcity, but the article includes the specific issue of landscaping behavior within residential areas of metropolitan Phoenix. This report offers insight into the kind of better, more in-depth information that can come out of including social scientist and empowering citizens to take part in the policy-making process, and reflection on the fact that the issues being dealt with in that area are a result of policy made with little to no inclusion of these inputs.
NUXOLL, LAUREN University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Checker, Melissa “But I Know It’s True”: Environmental Risk Assessment, Justice, and Anthropology. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2): 112-124.
Checker’s article focuses on the inequalities raised when environmental issues arise within an impoverished or racialized community. She discusses the injustices and difficulties faced by the community of Hyde Park near Augusta, Georgia. Her primary case study looks at the residents of this neighborhood, predominately inhabited by people of African American ethnicity, and how they are affected by not only the environmental problems that they are faced with, but also with the negligence of government agencies that are supposed to be aiding them.
Checker discusses the fact that, athough the EPA conducted a study of the environmental hazards within the Hyde Park area, they concluded that there was not significant danger to the residents of the area. Checker concludes that the primary reason for this was the economically depressed nature of that area in addition to the ethnicity of the residents. Through the use of ethnographic study conducted while she participated in a local volunteer organization, Checker relates the perspective of the locals, who had been largely ignored by the government entities sent in to asses their situation. She argues that the reasons through which the EPA came to its conclusions were biased from the start. Checker states that the majority of the data used by the EPA in its research was based upon stereotypes. For example, in one case the clothing postulated as being worn by the residents was the clothing type assumed to be worn by African-Americans of a lower socioeconomic status nationwide, and not the actual clothing types being worn by the Hyde Park residents in question. Checker also points out injustices, like the fact that the EPA did not discuss the environmental hazards with the actual residents of the area. She provides as an example the fact that when the EPA collected soil samples, they would simply scoop topsoil to use as their samples, when in fact it was common knowledge of the residents that new topsoil had been brought into the area in an attempt to resolve pollution issues.
Checker lays out a reasonable and well thought out argument for the injustices perpetrated against a racialized population, making this article a good example of cultural ecology as used today.
FREDRICKSON, KAITLIN University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Cohen, Jeffery H. and Browning, Anjali. The Decline of a Craft: Basket Making in San Juan Guelavia, Oaxaca. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol.66(3): 229-239.
This article is about the reasons pertaining to the rise and decline of the basket making craft in the area of San Juan Guelavia, Oaxaca. The authors focus on the economic demand for baskets, the costs needed to produce them, how prominent of an economic role the craft played in the local village, the decline in demand of the basketry market, and the repercussions of the crafts decline. Their data were gathered mostly from archival research and fieldwork taking the form of interviews with the local residents.
The economy of San Juan Guelavia revolves around farming. However, it has become increasingly difficult with the drought being prolonged. Basket making was a way by which the local families could supplement their income with a craft. Though not a local tradition, it quickly became one. At the time it was relatively cheap and easy to obtain the raw materials and then make baskets that could be sold at the market.
However, the basket making market slowly lost its appeal. This was due to the fact that there was simply no demand for any more products. Meanwhile, the costs for basket making slowly rose while the payoffs did not. Raw material became scarcer, causing families to pool their resources in order to pay for a truck to ship the harvested cane to them.
Added to this were the few problems that the crafted baskets had. For instance, compared to plastic bags, the basket is much more expensive and more of a symbol of the country as opposed to a symbol of the city. With baskets, one has to worry about things like mold, bugs, cleaning, and protecting the maize that is stored in the basket from pests. A plastic bag has none of these issues and is simply easier to handle.
The death blow, however, was that the baskets could not be sold as exports; they were local. Baskets are large and hard to pack away for a return trip to the U.S. They are tied to simple utilitarian needs and uses of the immediate area.
Baskets are meant to be used, not put on a showcase. Without a need for something like a basket, it is difficult to make them marketable.
CAULK, JIM University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Darrah, Charles N. The Anthropology of Busyness. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol.66(3):261-269.
In this article, Charles Darrah is making an argument for what he calls the anthropology of busyness; that studying busyness has anthropological implications worth researching. Busyness, according to Darrah, is any activity we engage in related to maintaining a career or family. Within this overarching argument he sets out to make two main points. First is that traditional studies and therefore our current understandings of busyness are distorted because of a focus on the relationship between time and efficiency. The second point is that activities humans undertake in an effort to coordinate or control other activities become the content which takes up most of our daily lives.
In the first section, Darrah looks at and critiques the quantitative research that has been done on the relationship between work and family. This research has revealed much but focuses too heavily on time. This makes invisible the work and activities people perform to manage their busyness.
Next, Darrah provides an overview of his methodology and uses a case study to support his arguments. For the actual study, the researchers spent 2,500 hours with 14 self-identified middle-class families in the Southern San Francisco Bay area. In writing this article Darrah chose to use one family that was most typical of all the families as a case study of their busyness and how it plays its role in their lives. Their busyness was composed of work, family obligations, volunteer activities, and consumption. These were not distinct spheres of busyness, however. The line was often blurred between any of the spheres by a number of factors. Technology, for example, was a major one, enabling skills and knowledge developed in one sphere to be recontextualized in another.
The fieldwork allowed Darrah to discover how individuals in families attempt to manage their busyness through everyday strategies that emphasize efficiency. These strategies are called coping practices of which Darrah identifies nine: planning and routinizing, anticipating, adjusting, protecting, intelligence gathering, simplifying, chunking, tracking, and prioritizing. Darrah also identifies buffering practices, which are longer term efforts to create infrastructures that are social, technological, and ideological in nature, that enable coping with the effects of busyness. Families use systems of devices, webs of helpers, and ideologies of management in attempts to control their busyness.
Darrah concludes that these coping and buffering practices are so ubiquitous in our modern lives that they have come to be what makes up the content of daily life. Studying this busyness allows us to get past a narrow view focused on individuals and to use the activities of daily life to understand connections to a larger social universe. This is what makes the study of busyness salient to anthropology.
CAWLEY, CURTIS University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Dirsmith, Mark. Haskins, M.E. The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis Applied to Big 5(4) Public Accounting Firms’ Assessments of Client Internal Controls. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol.66(4):438-452.
The main focus of this article is the use of applied, interpretive cultural anthropology to determine and analyze the “cultural” discursive styles of the Big 5 (now 4, after the collapse of Arthur Anderson) public accounting firms’ assessments of their clients’ internal control systems. The authors are concerned with the importance of the effects that different language, or discursive styles, have on the auditing process, and use theories, such as the linguistic relativity hypothesis according to Whorf, the two styles of discourse as specified by White, and the principles of interpretive cultural anthropology as explained by Geertz.
The authors pose the main thesis of the article as a research question, but the basic argument is that “mechanistic” audit firms with the discursive style of “metonymy” incorporate a wider variety of distinct client “parts,” and are more concrete and quantitative than auditors from “organic” firms using the discursive style of “synecdoche.” They seek to support this research question by integrating literature from various relevant sources, conducting an experiment involving actual members of the former Big 5 firms, and using the integrated literature, along with the theories and philosophies mentioned previously, to interpret their results.
The two styles of discourse are listed as metonymy and synecdoche. Metonymy is considered more “mechanical,” because it includes a focus on discrete parts, and is the more common style of discourse used in discussing organizations. Synecdoche is referred to as more “organic,” as it tends toward incorporating multiple, individual phenomena into a greater whole. Dirsmith and Haskins determined the level of structure within the firms by using three categories (highly structured, partially structured, or unstructured), and classified those firms’ “cultures” (mechanistic, intermediate, or organic), via reports by Kinney, Carpenter, and Gupta. Then they conducted what they called a 5-phase field of study, which involved preliminary interviews with practice-office audit partners of Big 5s; obtaining literature from auditing manuals, auditing textbooks, etc; one to two hour interviews with directors of auditing or audit research; the development, pre-testing, and distribution of their created “research instrument;” on-going interviews with practice partners and managers, and administrative partners; and finally, the integration of these observations.
The data is organized into tables showing nine factors and forty-eight control environment attributes within them according to the importance assigned by participants. These factors include top management characteristics, personnel policies and procedures, financial reporting system, board of directors’ code of ethics, budgeting process, financial reports, internal auditing, separation of transaction authorization, record keeping, and asset custody functions, and timeliness and review of internal reports. They use this data to conclude that their research question can be supported, and that one can usefully study auditing with regard to discursive styles. They also find that metonymy is the predominant form of discourse throughout the firms, and that auditors’ evaluations are rhetorically constructed, thus auditing practices are socially invented and rhetorically influenced.
NUXOLL, LAUREN University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Evans, Mike. Property, Propriety, and Ecology in Contemporary Tonga. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol.66(1):22-27.
Evans’ article is a critique of the ideas of both John Locke and Garrett Hardin on private property. Locke and Hardin argued that all land should be privatized for a greater moral good, including from an ecological standpoint. Hardin, specifically, argues that through private property, individual land owners will conserve their land for greater future benefits. To critique the stance of Hardin and Locke, Evans focuses on the ecological situation of Tonga. Tonga has a system of private property, although it is not entirely privatized. Land ownership itself is private, but the Tongan social system has communal aspects to it. Based on the Tongan patrilocal kinship system, the father’s sister is superordinate to the mother’s brother. Under this system, the children of the father’s sister have rights to the mother’s brother’s lands. These relationships are referred to as “Fahu”. When a Chinese merchant in the early 1980’s offered a high price for all sandalwood trees (ahi), the practice of the fahu decimated the ahi of Tonga. Landowners feared that the children of the father’s sister would claim their right to sell any of the sandalwood on their property, so as a precaution the landowners harvested the sandalwood themselves. As a result, nearly every sandalwood tree on the island was harvested and sold to the Chinese trader in just two years. Evans then argues that despite this highly negative effect of the kin tradition, fahu does serve a highly beneficial purpose in Tonga. In times of extreme drought or other natural disasters, farmers lose all of their crops, and finding the resources to replant is difficult. In order to survive, farmers are forced to use the tradition of fahu and travel to their lower relatives on other parts of the island that were not affected by the disaster. From them they have the right to take what they need to get their crops started again. Evans uses a drought beginning in 1992 that he witnessed as an example of this system in practice. Evans concludes that although absolute privatization of land may have saved the sandalwood trees on Tonga, the kinship systems on the island serve a greater purpose and act as a safety measure in the event of disaster. Evans spent from May 1991 to March 1993 on Tonga interviewing people and observing their customs as research for this article. The article itself is clear and a well detailed example that there are exceptions to Locke’s and Hardin’s theory.
FOREYT, RUSSELL University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Forbes, Kathryn. Bureaucratic Strategies of Exclusion: Land Use Ideology and Images of Mexican Farmworkers in Housing Policy. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol.66(2):196-209.
Forbes addresses the problems of land use ideology as it applies to migrant Mexican farm workers in Fresno County California, and the lack of affordable housing for these workers and their families. In this article Forbes details how national, rather than local data concerning farm workers skewed the data and reinforced the county board’s already stereotypical views of farm workers. Forbes’s article also highlights the importance of Anthropology in recording the struggles of marginalized communities, and in the case of Mexican farm workers in Fresno County, an uncounted and invisible population. According to Forbes, Anthropology can use research to, “…counter governmental proclamations of policy success through the presentation of ethnographic evidence that details the realities of poverty and the contemporary structure of labor markets” (Forbes 2007:197). In her study of the Mexican farm workers in Fresno County, Forbes shows how the lack of affordable housing for low income agricultural workers is ignored or rationalized by the bureaucrats on the County board who appear to act out of self interest.
Working with a bureaucracy requires new approaches in traditional ethnography. Studying up is difficult because of unseen obstacles, and the bureaucrats’ own self interests will not allow for an open and revealing study. We see this self interest throughout the article as county board members either stalled out the activists, or offered help to the organizations that represented the farm workers when it directly benefitted the board members. Forbes documents not only the bureaucrats in Fresno County, but shows us how these tactics are used universally to stall, delay, and deny projects they do not understand or that do not directly benefit themselves.
In highlighting the affordable housing crisis in Fresno County, Forbes points to the income disparities between those living in the urban centers and agricultural workers massed on the Western edge of the county. We also are informed as to the interconnectedness of government policies and private wealthy farmers as they receive some of the largest agricultural subsidies in the nation. This is a county with one of the highest percentages of millionaires in California. Working with a local activist group, Forbes documents the stereotypical views held by County board members and the residents in general in Fresno County about Mexican agricultural workers. Forbes compares the transient nature of the farm workers nationally and the more settled patterns of the farm workers on the Western side of Fresno County. Looking at school enrollments and interviewing workers, Forbes presents data that is in opposition to widely held beliefs by County board members.
Overall, this article was clear, concise, linear, and well detailed. Forbes’ candor is admirable in calling her research roject a cautionary tale for those wishing to do research and work with an activist group at the same time. Forbes leaves the reader with the impression that anthropology can be applied to empower the powerless and to that end new tactics and understandings are needed to effectively work with, study, and understand bureaucracies and the bureaucrats themselves.
PELLETT, PATRICK L. University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Franco, Rolando and Angela Gómez. Survival Always Trumps Ideology: A Case Study. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol.66(3):270-281.
This article is an analysis of the efficacy of democracy in the impoverished classes of Chile. The exposition argues that general country surveys lack the specificity to resolve any explicit problems that are causing a lack of human agency to influence democracy within the lower strata of the Chilean socioeconomic system. The members of this level of society have more interest in mechanisms that have immediate benefits (like job creation) rather than politics which, according to general perception, are saturated with empty promises and uneven benefits for the upper-class. This analysis looks at contextual indicators that explain this phenomenon where survival always trumps ideology.
The article begins by defining the terminology and boundaries of the study of families living in extreme poverty in Santiago, Chile. By establishing the boundaries of the analysis and the theoretical explanation of the political nature of humans, the data and conclusions are more clearly understood and argument within the context is more soundly defended. Through regular interviewing of members of the PUENTE program in Santiago (a state funded, social program that that promotes building social capital among the poor), Gómez and Franco were able to analyze the ideological tendencies of families and the perceptions of the effectiveness of the political system in their lives. Within the headings of Gobernability, Political process, Civil Rights and Economic Development, the data is presented interspersed with quotations of the interviewees for emphasis. The argument is made with an obvious breadth of data gathered from the study and presents a general overview of the political feelings and perceptions of the interviewees. These perceptions lead to the conclusion that the fundamentals of democracy are lacking in this demographic of extreme poverty. Due to the current economic disparities and inequality of the impoverished class, it does not represent an ideal environment for the expansion of democracy. Democracy remains elusive to the PUENTE members who perceive the disparity between the democratic ideology and their current governmental system as a hindrance to “exercising their agency in order to impact the larger system” (278).
HEINZ, ERIN University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Freidenberg, Judith. Development Anthropology is a Contact Sport: An Oral History Interview with Michael M. Cernea. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol. 66(4): 339-353.
In “Development Anthropology is a Contact Sport” Freidenberg examines the career of Michael M. Cernea to show that applied anthropology can be an effective force in the development of adopted technologies in less advanced countries to minimize the impact of the of these forces on the indigenous cultures and their practices, by collaborating with the economic institutions and affecting a change in developmental policies, and by putting “People First”. She argues through the oral history of Michael M. Cernea that applied anthropology and sociology can be a positive force for social change and change in policies that undermine world cultures.
She argues that by being actively involved in the policy making process of economic, government and local institutions, anthropologists can help political and economic institutions lessen the destructive effects of technology sharing among economically challenged societies. The effect of technological changes associated with the adoption of these technologies on a local culture can be softened and minimized with the dissemination of empirical information from the social sciences. The career of Cernea exemplifies her argument as proof that aggressive involvement in institutions, such as The World Bank, shows that this involvement can be a powerful force in changing the approach of these economic institutions in realizing that people and cultural awareness, and sensitivity, is a useful tool in achieving a higher success rate of projects with minimum damage among the social structures of the culture affected by these projects. Examples of his work are “Putting People First” (1984), and “Cultural Heritage and Development: A Framework for Action”, (2001). Cornea’s work with NGOs and the CGIAR is further proof that applied anthropology is a positive force in helping cultures adapt to the technological effects on their social and economic structure, and by educating institutions on the possible negative effects of their interventions, these institutions are able to take more sensitive approaches to the implementation of new technologies, which inevitably affect the cultural practices of the societies effected by these ventures.
In conclusion, Freidenberg argues that because economists and other agencies are trained only in their field, it is difficult for them to see the cultural side to their profession, and they are consequently reluctant to revise policies. That is why applied anthropology in an active form is an asset to these institutions. Anthropology that promotes these necessary changes and views among those who hold power is a challenging role, but a necessary one.
COLES, LONNIE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Galub, Alex. Ironies of Organization: Landowners, Land Registration, and Papua New Guinea’s Mining and Petroleum Industry. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol. 66(1):38-48.
Golub wrote about the many complexities of the Papa New Guinean land tenure system. Within his article, he focuses on the difficulties between the land owners and the mining industries. His purpose is to show that an anthropological approach can clarify the difficulties of land registration.
Land ownership in Papua New Guinea is complicated. The Land Act, which was implemented when Austrailia annexed Papua New Guinea in 1884, instigated much of the arguments over land ownership. The act grants the true natives of Papa New Guinea land ownership, and does not allow for reselling or leasing. However, Galub wrote, “peoples do have the right to be compensated for loss of land” when mining companies arrive. As a result, the natives end up fighting constantly over land ownership because they want compensation. This makes it difficult for the government to find the actual land owner, and many times clans will form just to fight over the land.
Galub provides many anthropological examples in which the land tenure system is corrupt. In one case he describes that the clans are loose and hardly based on kinship at all. Clans are incapable of organizing themselves with any truly defined boundaries. Most clans form on the basis of interest. Galub wrote that the system was “more Lamarkian than Darwinian”. For example, the Gobe Natural Gas Project at Hides was fought over by groups that just arrived in that area. The mine process was stopped several times while this occurred. Gobe remains open now, but arguments continue to hassle the mining company and the communities.
Although Galub expressed the difficulties in land ownership, he also provided another opinion from another anthropologist. He wrote that D.J.J. Brown considered that the arguments were holding the communities together. This herefore turns the quarrels into normal practice, rather than damaging.
Galub concluds by explaining that the groups in Papua New Guinea were too much for the mining companies. He writes the people are seen as corrupt and disorganized, when in fact they are willing to change.
OLSON, HOLLY University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Gezelius Stig. Three Paths from Law Enforcement to Compliance: Cases from the fisheries. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol.66(4):414-425.
This article focuses on the three main mechanisms of enforcement that are conducive to compliance, and how those three methods are evident in the fisheries. Gezelius begins by stating the three main mechanisms of enforcement that generate compliance, the first being The Hobbesian Mechanism, which states that the biggest motivation for compliance is fear of punishment. The second is the Durkheimian, which argues that it is in fact the deep rooted morality of a particular society that ensures compliance, and the act of compliance is seen as a restoration of morality to society. The third and final theory is Habermasianism, which suggests an emphasis on rational communication. Gezelius uses three separate examples of how these theories are evident within the fishing community. The first example used is that of the spatial regulations in the Norwegian purse seine fisheries. Gezelius suggests that this particular group of fishermen comply in a Hobbesian way, because of their fear of punishment, which he credits largely to the fact that there is a good line of communication present between the fishermen and the authorities ensuring that most are in compliance with, not only the authorities wants, but also the fishermen’s. The second example used is that of groundfish regulations in Norwegian inshore fisheries. The main theory used to support their compliance to enforcement is Durkheimian because the main motivation for compliance is that of keeping with society’s norms and values, and the actual authorities have little to no importance in the decision of compliance. The third and final example used is the cod moratorium in Newfoundland, which can be seen as a blend of both Hobbes and Durkheim where there is a fear of the power of the authorities as well as a fear of the moral repercussions for disobeying regulation. The primary reason for enforcement is the fear of punishment, but Gezelius points out that if there is ever a weak point in the Hobbesian mechanism that Durkheimian is always there as a secondary means of enforcement.
BEHRENS, THOMAS University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Gozdziak Elzbieta M. and Margaret MacDonnell. Closing the Gaps: The Need to Improve Identification and Services to Child Victims of Trafficking. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2): 171-184.
In this article Gozdziak and MacDonnell discuss the importance of preventing child trafficking into the United States. They explain that as many as 17,500 persons are illegally trafficked into the US each year, most of whom are women and children. The authors’ main focus involves analyzing one interviewee and her experiences, and then presenting ideas to rectify the US trafficking problem. Telephone and in-person interviews were conducted with Analis, who was trafficked into America and forced to work by her step sister. The authors apply Analis’s story as an example of how the American crime system failed to interpret her as a trafficked victim many times over. At the end of the article, the authors proceed to list various ways in which the American legal system can improve itself.
Throughout much of the article the authors use the interview of Analis to discover her life journey thus far, and to understand the complexities of the US system. The young woman described being transported into the US under false identification as a child. Analis described first being trafficked by her stepsister, Carmen, from Honduras to the United States, and afterwards being forced to work thereafter. At one point during Analis’s stay with Carmen, the police requested that Analis undergo schooling, for which she only attended three days. The police did not require identification during the initial request, and assumed that Carmen was the legal guardian of Analis. The school system also did not inquire or call the authorities after Analis stopped showing up for school after those three days. Under these circumstances, including others not mentioned in this summary, the authors make it explicitly clear each time the American system failed to correctly assess Analis’s situation.
Following Analis’s case study, the authors propose ways to lessen the complexity of the US system. Among many suggestions, they propose simplifying the system and increasing anti-trafficking resources to law officials and immigrations officials. The authors conclude their article by explaining how child labor in Honduras is culturally accepted, although there are laws against it. They describe that Carmen was unaware of the mistreatment and that child labor was also socially accepted in their community.
OLSON, HOLLY University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Gullette, Gregory S. Development Economics, Developing Migration: Targeted Economic Development Initiatives as Drivers in International Migration. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol.66(4): 366-379.
The issue that this article deals with is the neoliberal fiscal policies of Mexico, particularly whether or not those policies are helping to eliminate social pressure responsible for causing migration. The article chiefly studied whether or not the developing tourism industry would factor into local households’ decisions on whether or not to migrate. The conclusion is reached that the tourist hotel projects are causing families to migrate away for better work opportunities.
Gullette studied the problem through fieldwork conducted around the area of Huatulco, Oxaca, a site that has been developing as a leisure resort and tourist attraction. The research took the form of socioeconomic data collection, participant observation, formal interviews and a few informal interviews, and archival research.
He supports his arguments first by telling us where the current financial policies came from and then proceeds to explain that these policies have met with marginal success in Southeast Asia, but have yet to work in Mexico. Of the several places listed as developed tourist areas, the author makes note that Cancun has beaten problems in areas such as development, advertisement, staffing, etc., and has done exceptionally well. This was most likely due to the government funding that was used to help establish it. After the 1982 debt crisis, however, the state backed off and let the private sector play a more prominent role in the future project’s development.
Oxaca is a remote place and is therefore difficult to integrate into the state’s economic system. Thus, the local residents previously survived mostly by farming and fishing. But once the resort project began in full sway a few things happened that changed things. The job market became more open to people with skills not necessarily dealing with subsistence farming or fishing. Residents related how they could not compete for jobs with migrants from other areas in Mexico. Not only that, but the development caused people to move into the less profitable occupations bent toward services for tourists. Also, land acquisition became an issue since the government agency would reserve its sales for further developers who tended to be wealthier than what the local residents could compete with. Despite pooling their resources they still met with only marginal success. This caused a widening gap in class distinction, one of the things that the original project hoped to solve.
The above problems factored into the decision making process for local families to migrate. Where it had not been necessary before, people now did find it necessary. The new sets of economic pressures were causing people to migrate in search of job opportunities.
CAULK, JIM University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Haenn, Nora and David G. Casagrande. Citizens, Experts, and Anthropologists: Finding Paths in Environmental Policy. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2):99-102.
In this article, Haenn and Casagrande summarize the content of a collection of papers given at a conference held in 2002 about a continuing dialogue between anthropologists and environmentalists. The main concern in this paper is that it seems that anthropologists are becoming increasingly incorporated into policy making, acting as “cultural brokers” between the general public and environmental scientists. There is a general concern that the gap between the scientific world and laypeople is growing in a time when it is becoming increasingly important to collaborate with the scientific and general public in order to solve environmental crises that our world is starting to encounter.
The authors summarize an assortment of papers that contribute to this dialogue. Each summarized article adds a unique point of view to the pressing issue. Some come at the issue in agreement, saying that as a field, anthropology should expand its holistic and cultural relativistic approach into hierarchal policy making. But to do so, the academic world needs to find a way to accommodate such an approach. Yet others say that anthropologists should remain concentrated on underlying ethnographic matters of culture instead of tackling the surface problems. Only through understanding the nderlying problems can anyone really understand the surface crises.
The fundamental purpose of this article is to continue the conversation of this possible new outreach for anthropology. The authors seem to realize that this issue is becoming increasingly pressing as globalization forces different cultures to interact with each other. Different dominant sciences feel the need to reach out to the general public but are having a hard time doing so, and the policies within this global market are needing a little cultural guidance. The article concludes by revisiting the main questions, how do anthropologists become more active in policy making and what are the consequences of doing so? The authors reiterate that we should start implementing such changes within local polices before stepping up to global issues in order to help solidify this new area of anthropology.
RASMUSSEN, HEIDI University of Idaho (Laura Putche)
Hemment, Julie. Public Anthropology and the Paradoxes of Participation: Participatory Action research and Critical Ethnography in Provincial Russia. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol.66(3):301-314.
This article is concerned with cultural anthropologists’ social engagement with the lives of their subjects. Hemment discusses participatory action research (PAR) as a specific methodology of social engagement against the backdrop of ongoing cultural anthropological debates about the parameters and terms of the discipline.
She claims that PAR can be an effective methodological tool to engage in “critique-plus”: a form of ethnographic research that involves understanding a cultural situation from a critical perspective whilst creating a space for social change to occur with respect to the critiques. PAR success is rooted in circumstantial factors – it is not meant for all research contexts and it should not be imposed on situations where it is not called for by the members who make up the ethnographic group.
Hemment corroborates her claim through exemplifying her research, which took place within a feminist activist group in post-Soviet Russia. As an ethnographer, she was initially interested in critically investigating democratization. Being trained in an already democratic system, she had access to only a theoretical view of the democratizing process from her own position. Her ethnographic work placed her in proximity to people who were being negatively impacted by a democratizing system, giving her access to an emic view of the causes and effects of democratization in a specific place and time from a democratizing group. In an effort to not replicate the same patterns of democratization through her own research, she found herself collaborating with the group as an active participant in her own research. Since the group was activist in nature, Hemment’s role as an ethnographer-participant enabled her to accomplish “critique-plus”. She enacted change against that which she was critically investigating; at the same time, she gained an emic understanding of the causes and effects of democratization from a democratized (herself) and a democratizing (the group) perspective.
TYLLAS, NICOLE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Henry, Doug; Bales, Rodney; and Graves, Emily. Ethnography in Evaluation: Uncovering Hidden Costs and Benefits in Child Mental Health. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol. 66(3):315-326.
This article outlines the use of ethnography in the realm of cost-benefit analyses to present a more holistic approach to a cost-benefit problem by finding hidden costs and benefits in a child mental health program. The theory and methods for this approach are described as bridging anthropology and evaluation as they use both quantitative and qualitative designs to gather their data and then integrate it all together. The authors argue that anthropology is particularly suited to integrate findings on a variety of levels, be it data from the micro-level subjects of the studies, the mid level administrators, or the macro-level policy makers, and utilizes that strength in giving a variety of approaches to the same data.
The cost-benefit analysis in this study comes from work involving a new model of mental health service for emotionally disturbed children from the ages of 5 to 17 that is called “systems of care,” or “integrated systems” approach. This approach closely involves the parents of the child as well as a “facilitator” who coordinates care for the child and those people in the child’s network. For this part of the analysis facilitators and parents both were interviewed and given questionnaires to gather quantitative and qualitative data. Five participant-observation episodes were conducted involving some of the children and their facilitators. Data were also collected on the costs incurred by participants in the program over a period of time.
The analysis found it was better to find the cost-avoidance factors, or costs that did not materialize due to the use of the service, by using a holistic ethnographic approach. The quantitative data from the study suggested that the program ncreased the cost to the state in over half of the client cases. However, the ethnographic study revealed the context of these costs and highlighted the savings to the state in terms of the investment made and the costs avoided, such as incarceration or specialized foster care.
The authors conclude that the process of integrating ethnography into this cost-benefit analysis allowed a voice to people who normally did not receive a voice in the process, specifically the parents. By doing so, it gave the parents more empowerment and success in repairing their families.
AKIN, TRAVIS University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Jentoft, Svein. In the Power of Power: The Understated Aspect of Fisheries and Coastal Management. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol. 66(4):426-437.
The intellectual framework the article utilizes is the role that “power” plays among fisheries and coastal management. This approach considers power placement and displacement within different theoretical perspectives. The perception is that the governmental focus on power from an ethnocentric standpoint is that they are biased towards stakeholders within their own developments of management systems that promote empowerment. Furthermore, taking the role of stakeholders into further consideration through a democratic process, such as co-management, supports indigenous peoples’ rights to property and they are therefore granted justice in that manner. Moving the focus to another theoretical based discussion within the second half of the article, power is legitimized to where rules and regulations must even be followed by the state in that they are not even above power itself, being within a process of socialization. Yet again, co-management is discussed in regards to fisheries management systems where sharing power will only make groups stronger than being individualistic. In particular, most fishers lack this power being that communication and knowledge are forms of power only accomplished from people with privileged access, such as politicians. The last section of this article focuses on studying fisheries from a comparison standpoint, where power will vary based on the similar issues making power very hard to define. Also, power can be seen from two different views; jointly among the individual and social institutions or from a difficult empirical viewpoint, implying that power can be seen from participant observation in which you study all aspects of cultural change. In closing, the author relates his topic on power to being culturally relativistic in that we need to accept the positive and negatives from the fisheries and coastal management to understand this concept of power and its affects.
SCHWANTOR, DAVID University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Luque, John S. Healthcare Choices and Acute Respiratory Infection: A Rural Ecuadorian Case Study. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol.66(3):282-291.
John S. Luque’s study was conducted in order to provide recommendations for interventions that are culturally appropriate to address childhood acute respiratory infections (ARIs). The study was conducted in Penipe, Ecuador, a rural county in the Andean Province of Chimborazo. The research was aimed at gaining an understanding of how the female caregivers understand and treat respiratory illnesses, as well as the existing beliefs and barriers to getting timely care.
Luque compared the ethnomedical signs that the female caregivers used for recognizing ARIs with the Western biomedical categories, of which there was some overlap, but the ethnomedical signs did not always translate to timely care. In order to obtain knowledge of the ethnomedical signs and treatments, focus groups were formed to help create quality questions to be used in in-depth interviews with healthcare providers. Semi-structured questionnaires also went out to a functional sample of the female caregivers in the rural county to obtain general information about healthcare in the area.
An in-depth description was given of what constitutes an acute respiratory infection and how it is a disease causing the death of approximately one million children under the age of five in developing countries annually. Luque relates some background of the study area’s history of health problems, including being in a volcano hazard zone. The options for health services were thoroughly researched to help give insight into the different kinds of help available and how far the caregivers needed to go for help, as well as the patterns of usage.
Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed and presented in a socio-demographic profile. This broke down the average ages of the caregivers, the average number of children they had, how they ranked severities of symptoms and what their usual treatment of them was. The common health problems and recognized symptoms of these plus the general treatments used were examined in detail in the article. Luque synthesized the study’s results with the consultations he had with healthcare providers and the community leaders into five different recommendations for intervention. These interventions would help prevent deaths from respiratory infections that could have been treated if proper care was provided sooner.
LUSTIG, ADELINE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Macintyre, Martha; Foale, Simon. Land and Marine Tenure, Ownership, and New Forms of Entitlement on Lihir: Changing Notions of Property in the Context of a Goldmining Project. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol. 66(1):49-59.
Macintyre and Foale are concerned with the effects of imperialism, which in this case takes the form of a gold mining industry, on the native populations of the Lihir groups of Papua New Guinea. They choose to focus on the populations’ changing views on land and marine tenure since a gold mining industry began mining their lands in the 1980s.
Macintyre and Foale begin their argument with a brief overview of how compensation for mining works. In an area in which land ownership is clear cut, compensation is easy, as it can be paid directly to the land owner whose land is being used. In an area that practices communal land ownership, like the Lihir group did originally, the process of compensation becomes much messier as there will be inevitable arguments over who deserves the compensation for land tenure. People of the Lihir islands customarily had a system of clan ownership of land, with the ability for any individual to retain land rights by contributing to the clan as a whole, primarily by contributing to feasts. Land rights are also given through birth and marriage. These land rights, however, are revocable in theory. Macintyre and Foale focus on the works of other anthropologists’ studies for this overview of customary land rights.
These loosely defined land rights were forced into a more concrete system with the arrival of the Lihir gold mine, as it would have been impossible to reimburse the community effectively based on the customary system. The people on Lihir have gradually adopted a more concise land ownership system, allowing the more capitalistic of them to make a lot of money from the mining company by concretely claiming land ownership over parcels of land. The same goes for marine tenure; originally the coast and sea were loosely controlled and have recently been claimed for the purpose of compensation. However, there are areas of the Lihir’s community that have not been claimed. These are the spiritual areas of their culture, such as Tandals (spirit places) and the Alaia (a rock that symbolizes the gate into the afterlife). These areas are still sacred to the entire community, and thus are community owned and not allowed to be touched by the mining company. According to the authors, the significance of the spiritual areas is slowly changing with the new generation of Lihir people, as they are becoming more western educated and losing faith in their spiritual past for capitalistic gains. To support these findings, the authors focus on others’ case studies but also conducted several interviews of the Lihir people directly. The article is very clear and a good case study of the effects of capitalistic corporations on this small communal culture.
FOREYT, RUSSELL University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Maschner, Katherine Reedy. The Best-Laid Plans: Limited Entry Permits and Limited Entry Systems in Aleut Culture. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol.66 (2):210-225.
Katherine Reedy Manschner aims to show how the implementation of Limited Entry policy by the Alaskan Government has reshaped the salmon industry in Alaska, and to show the effects of this law on the Aleut society, and how it has compromised their cultural practices and local economy. Her study is concerned with the specific region of the Aleutians East Borough villages of False Pass, King Cove, Nelson Lagoon, and Sand Point, Alaska. Manschner also means to show that cultural data collected by anthropologists, combined with biological/economic data, would have been a more effective approach to the development of limited entry policies than approaching the creation of limited entry policy solely on the information that was based on economic and biological information. This approach to policy making threatens Aleut subsistence and commercial fishing practices, and its indigenous cultural roots.
Manschner conducted 20 months of field work which focused on data sharing from May 2000. Her research was conducted from 2001-2004. Her methods of research included interviews with people of all ages, economic statuses, and reputations, through participant observation, census data, and genealogies. Other sources of data included living in an Aleut household, participation in daily life, fishery data collection and spending time at the local hub, the Harbor House. By using this multiple source approach, Manschner hoped to understand how fishing occurs, who participated in fishing and the mapping of social organization on the land and at sea.
Manschner then describes the Aleut social type, its history in fishing, Russian and American influences, and their daptation from a subsistence fishing society to a commercial fishing society. She then argues the negative affects of limited entry permits and limited entry policy on the Aleut social political structure.
Manschner maintains that the Aleut are a class society that is controlled by a few influential families that have the most prestigious genealogies associated with fishing.
These families hold most of the limited entry permits, boats and gear allowed by limited entry policy. Since fishing is a status symbol among the Aleut men the limited entry policy limits the amount of male participation in fishing. Because fishing techniques are passed down from father to son many young men hold out to fish rather than pursue other occupational options, including education. Women work in the fisheries, while men who do not have permits or boats work on fishing crews where possible. Permits and boats have become very expensive costing up to $100,000 for a permit and $500,000 for boats, which limits even further the amount of Aleut men able to participate in fishing. Aleut women often seek permit holders as the most attractive mates because of the financial stability promised.
In conclusion, limited entry policy has damaged and changed the Aleut society forever. This example supports her thesis that when social data is ignored in the construction of policies, the effects on a culture can be devastating. Her claim is well represented and brings home the importance of considering social and anthropological data when constructing any policy that will affect specific sets of social practices.
COLES, LONNIE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Midgett, Douglas and Inga Treitler. It’s about Water: Anthropological Perspective on Water and Policy. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2):140-149.
This article proposes that anthropological perspectives take a more integrative role in policy creation. Drawing from information gathered at the Conference on Environment, Resources and Sustainability, the authors propose that anthropologists should be more involved in policy creation because of their ability to analyze the cultural contexts and seal the rift that separates perceived necessary resource management (in this case the management of freshwater sources) and local cultural needs. Policy formation regarding water is critically important because, as stated in the article, it is a “crucial resource linking all other environmental and social concerns” (140). The idea is that anthropologists can contribute to policy creation in resource management and more effective policies that address cultural considerations and analyze shortcomings of the policy during the planning stages.
Treitler and Midgett discuss water policy issues presented at the conference and summarize the potential value that the anthropological view could bring to each policy. The role of the anthropologist involves “illuminating cultural considerations” (147) , presenting a more intimate understanding of the resource needs of the community, finding cooperative solutions that promotes local legitimacy along with potential for a myriad of other issues. Not only can this type of work contribute to the expansion of knowledge and understanding of the community, it can lead to formation of more effective policies in water and other natural resource management.
Nine specific topics are outlined in the article that summarize a specific case regarding policy formation, negotiations and theoretical approaches to resolving problems involving freshwater management around the world. The summary is then followed by the Anthropological Perspective section, which discusses the approaches and foci of anthropologists, as well as the shortcomings, regarding the aforementioned problem, and positive implications should the anthropological input be consulted. By presenting a large selection of issues and outlining the vast potential for successful anthropological involvement within the field of water management, the reader can fully appreciate the potential scope of integrative anthropological involvement in widespread policy formation.
HEINZ, ERIN University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Moeran, Brian. A Dedicated Storytelling Organization: Advertising Talk in Japan. Human Organization Summer, 2007. Vol. 66(2): 160-170.
Moeran’s main concern in his article is how advertising agencies are potentially seen as dedicated storytelling organizations. He does not think, however, that this is necessarily a bad thing, but explains how this has come to be.
Storytelling is an integral part of a particular Japanese advertising agency, and it is not very different from other creative-based agencies. Moeran makes his points through his own research of viewing how the agency works. His points include that this agency uses three types of tales to discuss daily business or even business transactions/happening from the past. The three types of tales Moeran says helps the advertising agencies communicate are tales of the past and the now, and also tales of repetition. He also notes that these tales are told without individuals even knowing it sometimes. Communication is everywhere in this particular advertising agency and everything is discussed, even small items, such as daily happenings.
Moeran’s points are not too strong in his article It seems as though he repeats them. His writing is not so clear and concise. The most effective part of his article is his personal research of hearing these “tales” and recounting them in his article. He gives excerpts of stories to back up his point that advertising agencies are storytelling organizations.
Personally, I am not quite sure what his thoughts are at the end of the article. I do not know if he thinks this trend will continue or grow. This is the unclear part of the article. Moeran does make it clear that this idea of Japanese advertising agencies being called a storytelling organization is not a bad thing.
HIRD, KATHERINE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Molony, Thomas and Daniel Hammett. The Friendly Financier: Talking Money with the Silenced Assistant. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol. 66(3):292-300.
Malony and Hammett examine the ethics behind remuneration practices that are involved in the relationship between researchers and research assistants. The authors draw from their experiences with research assistants in Tanzania and South Africa. Within that context, the authors argue three main points: that the issues surrounding researcher-research assistant relationships have not been adequately addressed, wealth asymmetry has the potential to influence the relationship between researcher and research assistant, and there is a need to consider the implications of choosing to establish a relationship with a certain type of research assistant prior to entering the field.
The authors begin the article by pointing out the lack of documentation regarding the ethics of hiring research assistants. They use several examples to argue that assistants are neglected in finished research texts and their influence on the research itself does not seem to be considered. The authors illustrate this with an example of using interpreters in obtaining information from locals. In this example, the authors point out that the interpreter’s position within the society being studied as well as the interpreter’s view of researchers or past experience with researchers may bias the data that is obtained, but that influence is not acknowledged in finished research texts.
Malony and Hammett continue by addressing how wealth asymmetry works as one method by which the relationship between the researcher and the research assistant can create inaccuracy in the finished research text. The authors argue this through multiple examples, including one of a research assistant referred to in the paper as Charles. While haggling with a merchant at a local market, Charles told Malony that it was rude considering that money was nothing to Malony. This attitude in Charles was intensified as he came to recognize that the benefits of the research were largely skewed towards the researcher. The researcher came to his locale with more monetary resources than Charles and would leave with research that would further his career while the only gain on Charles’ end was simple monetary compensation for his work. The authors argue that this asymmetry has the potential to negatively influence the research output.
Malony and Hammett conclude with a call to consider the implications of hiring research assistants as pertaining to the locale being researched prior to entering the field. The authors suggest that a researcher should define why a research assistant is needed, what the limits of the relationship between the researcher and research assistant are to be, and what the contract between the two parties will consist of prior to entering the research field. All of these and other questions should be considered in the context of the research field to the greatest extent possible.
MITCHELL, JOSEPH University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Morais, Robert J. Conflict and Confluence in Advertising Meetings. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2):150-159.
This article discusses the process of advertising meetings between advertising agencies and clients of these agencies. These meetings are critical to the process of developing advertising as ideas are presented by the advertising agency to the client and they shape the direction of future work between the agency and client. Morais puts this process into perspective by noting that manufacturers spend billions of dollars in advertising, and as a result the process is highly competitive with frequent firings and reassignments.
The entire process of the advertising meeting is outlined with the players’ roles defined and the processes that precede the meeting detailed. Morais also details the motives that are typically driving the people involved, such as the agency account managers who represent the agency to the client, the creatives that create the advertising ideas and work, and the client marketing managers who must develop a marketing plan for their company and product. Although motives of those involved tend to differ, the meeting attempts to have the parties involved feel that progress was made toward their respective goals.
Meetings are generally conducted at the direction of the account manager who outlines the plan for the creative work. The various ideas are then presented to the client. The clients then react to the works presented and ideas and opinions are exchanged. The presentation of ideas and opinions tends to follow a hierarchy as junior members begin the process and those with more power in the agency have a more final say. Morais also identifies these meetings as a rite of passage with the creative works and the participants themselves being transformed during this process. The results of the meeting are very personal for those who put forth their efforts in imagination and intellect for the sake of the creative work.
Morais concludes with advertising meetings being a “sense making” process that enhances the sense of community and dentity within an organization despite the conflicts that often occur. It is through these meetings that commercial ideas become stronger and both the client and agency can achieve their goals and advance their careers.
AKIN, TRAVIS University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Morgan, R Christopher. Property of Spirits: Hereditary and Global Value of Sea Turtles in Fiji. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol.66(1):60-68.
In this article, Morgan examines the role of sea turtles on Taveuni Island, Fiji, and who has access to them. He suggests that we must be able to equally examine the spiritual beliefs, sociopolitical relationships, and physical needs of the people of Fiji (along with outside conservation efforts) in order to fully grasp the complexities regarding the plight of the sea turtles. He addresses the issue of sea turtles as a traditional subsistence food, as well as sea turtles having an important spiritual element to them. He examines the social and political relationships between clans of indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, a relatively newer group who are traditionally not native to Fiji. He also takes into account the influence of conservationist groups that are trying to protect this creature from exploitation and extinction. At issue are the rights to exploit turtles and to have turtles accepted as a representation of identity relative to other groups, rather than the actual ownership of the turtles.
The studies referenced in this article focus on historical and ethnographic texts and fieldwork. They cover three periods of approximately two months each in 1991, 1996, and 2001. The main methods used in fieldwork were interviews, observations, and participation in activities while living with the informants in their village homes and offshore fishing sites.
According to this article, it is the performance of ritual observances in deference to the ancestral spirits that makes turtles available to people. Thus, rights to take turtles derive from a relation with the ancestral spirits (vu), a relation that is mediated by chiefs through petition, gift, and ritual. This can be seen in the clans serving both Tui Cakau of Cakaudrove and Tue of Wainikeli (chiefs). However, historic divisions and fighting among these clans have been exemplified in perceived hereditary rights over sea turtles. Thus, as regional and global forces challenge these rights, the hereditary right to turtles and other forms of property takes on additional meaning as a tangible expression of intangible relations among Fijian communities and leaders. Additionally, Morgan states that turtles are also being hunted by Fijians as a nutritious subsistence food, and that they depend on this food for the protein their infants need.
To add to the political unrest within the area, conservation groups have also entered the scene. Conservationists believe that sea turtle populations are declining (in contrast to natives’ perspective), and should be set apart from daily life. Also, Morgan states that these conservationists apply their own ideologies about sea turtles as spiritual beings, which go far beyond exchange theory and ritual (as is the case with the local Fijians). Thus, Morgan claims that this presents an intersection of global and local forces. In conclusion, Morgan posits that attempts understanding the full impact of these interactions must include attention to the spiritual dimensions of turtles and the pronouncement made about these values (represented in all parties). He suggests that drawing explicit attention to spiritual value can help to explain the local responses involving the significance of turtles as property, both at a material and spiritual level.
WALL, JESSICA University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Oles, Bryan. Access and Alienation: The Promise and Threat of Stewardship on Mokil Atoll. Human Organization Spring, 2007. Vol. 66(1):78-89.
In this article Bryan Oles examines the striking shift occurring in the system of land tenure on Mokil Atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia. They system of land tenure is changing from one with an emphasis on individual ownership to collective, kin based ownership. The cause of this shift, Oles sets out to prove, is rooted in emigration movements because of the island’s changing place in the global political economy as well as simultaneously occurring changes in the value assigned to the land, its resources, and the traditional subsistence economy.
Oles begins the discussion with an overview of ownership and kinship relations on Mokil. There are two types of land rights on Mokil. One is individual ownership, in which a single person has the right to use the land and restrict or allow others access to and use of the land. The second is collective ownership, in which the members of a kin group, called a “ramage,” all have the unalienable right to use and access land and transfer these rights to their children.
Next, Oles discusses the major influences on the shift to collective ownership. The first is that emigration away from Mokil to elsewhere increased dramatically in the mid-1900’s due to a population boom on the island. This population pressure, in conjunction with the emphasis at that time on individually owned land, meant more people were without land on Mokil. Many residents took the opportunity to emigrate elsewhere to take their chances on the flourishing and expanding global market.
With this emigration arose a need for a system in which the absent (emigrated) owners of land could ensure the ownership of their land while they were gone. So absent land owners appointed stewards, people with no present or future ownership rights to land, to be caretakers of their land in their stead. This system, although designed to protect the absent landowner’s claims, actually led to many people losing their land to the stewards. This is because stewardship collides with another traditional principle of land tenure on Mokil; residents assign primacy to use as a determinant of ownership rights, meaning stewards can argue their use of the land, and the absent owners non-use of the land gives them a claim to the it.
The value attached to land has also changed and led to a preference for collective ownership. Traditionally, the value of local produce (dried coconut and taro) was high because proceeds from these crops were the primary source of income and exchange in Mokil’s prestige economy. Individual ownership was preferred because it meant more wealth for that person. This is no longer the case since the expansion of Western markets and goods to the island has caused the value of local products to fall. Now, absentee owners value the land as a place to vacation and residents value the land ecause they live off of it. The principles of individual ownership tend to threaten both groups of people so collective ownership has emerged, allowing more people unalienable rights to the land.
CAWLEY, CURTIS University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Oths, Kathryn S. & Robertson, Tara. Give Me Shelter: Temporal Patterns of Women Fleeing Domestic Abuse. Human Organization 2007 Vol. 66(3): 249-260.
Oths and Robertson’s article focuses upon the reasons behind the times at which abused women choose to reach out and seek help for themselves and their children. They open the article with a basic description of the events that typically occur forcing women to seek shelter outside their homes, saying that domestic abuse can be broken up into various stages including the abuse itself, followed by an appeal for help to law enforcement or to a safe house. They also discuss the different strategies that have been suggested to end domestic abuse, with the major downfall of any strategy being that most women do not desire an end to the relationship itself, but rather desire an end to the abusive side of it.
The primary research conducted by the authors focuses upon calls placed to Turning Point violence and sexual assault prevention service in western Alabama. The main area of interest within the authors’ study was placed upon the time at which the calls were placed by abused women, whether or not they followed through with entering protective custody, and if they did, whether this was before an incident of abuse or following an incident. Another area of focus was to investigate whether the common belief that “drinking holidays” corresponded with a rise in the number of calls was true or not.
Through their ethnographic research, Oths and Robertson discover that there is in fact no visible link connecting “drinking holidays” and an increase in received calls to the Turning Point center. They did, however, find that there is an increase in call volume at times when the intimate partner of the woman is not at home, with number spiking between 8 AM and 5 PM, and then again during the night when the partner would be asleep. They report yet another rise in calls in days leading up to school vacations, as the women do not want to disrupt the lives of their children more than necessary.
The authors lay out their points clearly and concisely, and make the reasoning behind their conclusions simple and easy to follow.
FREDRICKSON, KAITLAN University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Siqueira, Andrea D; D’Antoa, Alvaro O; D’Antona, Maria Fernanda; and Moran, Emilio F. Embodied Decisions: Reversible and Irreversible Contraceptive Methods among Rural Women in the Brazilian Amazon. Human Organization Summer, 2007 Vol. 66(2):185-195.
According to this article Brazil has experienced a rapid fertility decline within the past 40 years, where the number of children per woman (i.e. total fertility rate) has dropped sharply from 6.0 in the 1960’s to 2.3 in the late 1990’s. Brazilian scholars have attributed this demographic shift to Brazilian women’s high rate of dependence on irreversible contraception (i.e. tubal ligation) as an effective means of birth control. In this article the authors argue that there are many reasons why women of this country are choosing irreversible methods over reversible ones, and that in order to understand their contraceptive choices, we need to consider the social and cultural context. Specifically, they state that we need to understand the availability of local health services, the influence of doctors and politicians, as well as women’s own goals for themselves and their children.
This article reflects a study of 525 women between the ages of 15 and 78, who live in the rural and poor areas of the municipality of Santarem, Para, Brazil. The data for this study were collected primarily through interviews, and have been compared to that of other Brazilian women (mainly those who live in the industrialized south and the rural northeast areas) to get a better idea of the factors that are influencing these women’s decisions.
Through these interviews, the authors identify that the trend of choosing tubal ligation surgery as a more reliable method of birth control over other options, such as the pill, injection, and condoms, results from the scarcity of free public health care and contraceptives (provided elsewhere by Brazil’s socialized medicine program). They state that, although these services can be obtained in more industrialized parts of the country, often times the health care system does not have enough resources for people living in the more rural areas. They also cite local politics and the influence of relationships between local politicians and doctors as having a major influence on women’s decisions. They note that in areas of extreme poverty where women cannot afford to pay for this surgery themselves, politicians work with the doctors to provide these services in hopes of receiving more votes. In addition, they point out that education attainment is becoming an issue for the younger generations, and women who are becoming more educated are opting to have fewer children. Finally, they note that the women of Brazil are often choosing this surgery as a means of upward mobility. The women strongly correlate their success with the amount of children they are having, believing that the fewer children they have, the more successful they will be.
In conclusion, the authors’ claim that we need to be able to examine the broader context of Brazil in order to understand these women’s fertility choices is evident. These women are trying to adapt to an environment of poverty and ever changing political dynamics, as well as trying to advance themselves within their society. Thus we have to be able to understand the complexities of these issues in order to truly understand the situation.
WALL, JESSICA University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Smith-Morris, Carolyn. Autonomous Individuals or Self-Determined Communities? The Changing Ethics of Research among Native Americans. Human Organization Fall, 2007 Vol. 66(3): 327-336.
Smith-Morris is concerned about the changing relationship between medical researchers and Native American tribal communities. In the last two decades there has been more of a shift in medical research to emphasize the importance of the autonomous individual rather than a self-determined group. However, this framework does not work well with Native American tribes, where the importance of individual autonomy is secondary to the outcome and success of the tribe as a whole. Because of the supposed universality of the Principalist Approach to bioethics, researchers disregard the overall structure of tribes and rely on each individual to give informed consent, when many individuals do not know what they are consenting to because of the language used in proposals. When the participants in the medical research see no immediate effects from the research within their own community, they begin to doubt the usefulness of the research and see it as an attempt to help the Euro-American culture while using the Native community for the labor with no benefit to them. Women in certain tribes have begun to take on a negative perspective of child-birth and pregnancy because what was once a considered a normal and healthy pregnancy by the tribe has now been termed a high risk for gestational diabetes, a viewpoint that changed only because researchers told them that something was not “good” by Western standards. Smith-Morris submits recommendations for researchers that would better fit their interactions with Native Americans, which would respect both the self-determined tribe and the autonomous individuals within the tribe itself. Her recommendations include tribal research review committees, institutional review board (IRB) statements of purpose, review of research applications, ongoing review and supervision of research, community benefits, and tribe-to-researcher relationship. In conclusion, Smith-Morris points out that the tension will only increase between scientific advancement and the development of self-determinism within the tribe if a balance and understanding are not reached based on the differing worldviews and value systems of both parties.
WILSON, JESSICA University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Tanner Adrian. On Understanding to Quickly: Colonial and Postcolonial Misrepresentation of Indigenous Fijian Land Tenure. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol.66(1):69-77.
In this article tanner seeks to understand how the land tenure system works in the area of Fiji, with a specific interest in how it was originally handled by early colonial powers and how their use of the common property theory plays into that tenure. In this article, Tanner states that the theory of common property cannot apply to the people of Fiji because it does not explain enough, and simply addresses pieces of the puzzle that fit into a greater situation. He also explains the importance of land tenure to the people of Fiji, stating that almost every major political movement has some roots in securing land rights for the people. Instead of a common property as proposed by some, tanner hypothesizes that there is a strict system of land ownership that exists in the culture that has succeeded for centuries. Now, however, the people of Fiji have a system similar to their original tribal governments that decide on the distribution of land, with a correct balance of both the formal system and the way that the land tenure really functions within the constructs of society. Overall, Tanner comes to the conclusion that common property cannot be used as a theory to explain all of the Fiji land tenure because it simply does not explain enough of the overall situation, and that the Fijian way of land uses is not based on communal property.
BEHRENS, THOMAS University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Turner, Sarah. Trading Old Textiles: the Selective Diversification of Highland Livelihoods in Northern Vietnam. Human Organization Winter, 2007 Vol.66(4):389-404.
Sarah Turner’s ethnographic study works to provide a deeper understanding of the livelihoods of the Hmong women in the highlands of Northern Vietnam, and specifically in the Lao Cai province. To examine these livelihoods Turner uses literature on livelihoods, commodity chains, and approaches that are actor-orientated. In addition to the literature she conducted extensive fieldwork in Lao Cai province from 1998 to 2006. Basic interviews, semi-structured interviews and in-depth interviews were all carried out with, not only the women involved, but the shopkeepers as well in order to create a clear and concise picture. Before addressing how the livelihoods, commodity chains and individual actors are all connected, Turner gives some background information on the minority populations and how the livelihoods looked previous to the time frame of her study.
Three different commodity chains were examined in the study. There was one based on the local trade between the Hmong women producers, some Vietnamese shopkeepers and the tourists. The second chain looked at the border trade with Hmong traveling across the border with China. This chain brings in Chinese traders and wholesalers to the mix of actors. The third chain brings in a more complex set of power dynamics, in that traders from overseas are brought in and the Hmong women are being approached to make the textiles rather than the opposite. Throughout these three chains Turner defines how the individual actors, like the Hmong women, the shopkeepers, the State, and the different levels of tourists, are involved in the livelihoods of the Hmong women.
Through this study Turner has examined how the livelihoods of the Hmong women minorities have changed and become a part of the new forms of production and consumption. The amount of involvement these women take part in though, according to Turner’s conclusions, is still selective. The regulations on trade and access to resources are highly controlled, but these women, as Turner shows, could still take a more active role in the production of their textiles, but choose to stay in the background.
LUSTIG, ADELINE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Wagner, John. Conservation as Development in Papua New Guinea: The View from Blue Mountain. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol.66(1):28-37.
This article concerns the accuracy with which developing communities are being discussed in terms of property rights. Wagner focuses on the property rights system of Kamu Yali, a coastal village in the developing islands of Papua New Guinea. Specifically, he questions the applicability of the current model (the common property system) to what is actually occurring.
Warner claims that Kamu Yali’s property rights system, and other similar systems throughout the world, needs to be understood as a mixed property system in which external agencies are playing increasingly dominant roles, rather than a common property system where internal community relations are paramount. By mixed system, Warner is referring to a system in which rights are allocated on individual, collective, corporate, state, and global scales. In contrast, a common property system applies to a bounded small-scale society.
Warner illuminates his argument in three case studies where property rights were disputed. He asserts that property rights should be understood as a set of social relations. In the three case studies, external agencies are inseparable from the events occurring within the society. In all cases, social and economic relations link members in all areas of Warner’s mixed system, individual to state, collective to corporate, for example. Describing these social and economic relations in erms of a common system limits our understanding of the intricacies inherent in the system. Therefore, since the social relations are mixed, the property rights system needs to be understood and evaluated as such.
TYLLAS, NICOLE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Wagner, John, Talakai, Malia. Customs, Commons, Property, and Ecology: Case Studies From Oceania. Human Organization Spring, 2007 Vol.66 (1):1-10.
Wagner and Talakai’s article addresses the limitations of the application of common property theory indiscriminately without regard to its intended use. The main point of contention with the theory is its application in customary settings. This application in customary or traditional settings is problematic according to the authors since it accounts only for one set of problem solving solutions to problems that order themselves contrary to western thoughts about property and ownership. Perhaps central to this idea is how residents in Oceania construct personhood and social character through intimate relationships with their surroundings. This intimate and non-western relationship calls for new understandings and techniques for application of theory. This article highlights the importance of anthropological research in public policy as the residents living in Oceania are all at risk because of the environmental impacts of western civilization. While specifically addressing the concerns of those living in Oceania, the authors point to the universality of the over application of common property theory globally.
The authors’ central point of contention with common property theory is its application taken from Hardin’s 1968 article, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which points towards privatization as a panacea for improved ecological conditions and management. Recent history shows the devastating results of this interpretation of common property theory. Perhaps one of the most important concerns the authors have with common property theory is its “…lack of attention to the political realities that shape the exercise of rights to property at the local level” (Wagner and Talakai 2007:4). This indiscriminate application of the theory does not take into account how the residents in Oceania construct their identity though their spatial relationships with the environment. While the authors address the fact that there are variations in these relationships, most Oceania residents are intimately connected to the environment in which they live. This stands in direct contrast to the privatization schemes and the emphasis on individualization that comes with “development”.
The authors call for a new model of understanding common property and the commons that incorporates customary and indigenous knowledge and interpretations of property. The authors do a commendable job of showing the reader how to move past our western precepts in understanding how personhood is connected to the environment by introducing the concept of Fonua. This Tongan term incorporates many aspects and facets of life in Oceania and highlights how the residents see themselves and the world which they inhabit as more of a holistic relationship than how we in the west view the environment. While the overall article addresses an important and significant issue, it appears as though this article was written for specialists rather than a generalist. This is unfortunate as this is an important issue and highlights how anthropology and theory can be applied to better understand different interpretations of the world around us and how correct application can help the very survival of various cultures in Oceania and eventually our own.
PELLETT, PATRICK L. University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)
Zarrugh, Laura. From Workers to Owners: Latino Entrepreneuers in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Human Organization Fall, 2007. Vol. 66(3):240-248.
Zarrugh is concerned with Latino entrepreneurs and the growth of Latino-owned businesses in the South and Midwest, mainly the Harrisonburg, Virginia area. She is trying to show why there is a rise in businesses and why most Latinos are coming to America. Another concern of Zarrugh’s is whether this trend will continue or fade.
Zarrugh notes that there is a lack of attention by researchers regarding Latino entrepreneurs. Her article focuses on Latino entrepreneurs themselves and how they got where they are. She gives a detailed look at every aspect of becoming a Latino business owner, including the challenges most owners face starting and continuing their businesses.
The trend of Latinos becoming business owners will continue she thinks, even with the increase in the closures and downsizing of local poultry plants (which is one of the main facets of Latinos’ work initially).
Zarrugh not only uses personal interviews of local Latino business owners, but newspapers and previous research. Her personal interviews of the local Latino business owners were most effective in getting her points across. Her points include education of the owners, backgrounds, why they moved to the Harrisonburg area, and so on.
She begins her article with an introduction to her concern and then focuses on the background of Latino immigrants. She points out that most immigrants come to the area to work in the poultry plants, but some leave them and pursue their own businesses in which they have a background in the specific field of work. The poultry plants provide a way to get to the area and earn capital for some. Start-up capital is one of the main challenges Latino entrepreneurs face; it is hard to get the necessary start up money.
Zarrugh’s way of organizing her material and research is easy for the reader to follow and get the information about the Latino business owners in the appropriate order. Her writing is very clear and concise, yet filled with information about immigration and the struggles of Latinos. She also concludes that even though poultry plants are closing in the Harrisonburg area, Latino-owned businesses will continue to rise. Also, word of mouth by relatives and friends brings a lot of the immigrants to the area; not just availability in the poultry plants.
HIRD, KATHERINE University of Idaho (Laura Putsche)