Human Organization 1985
Blustain, Harvey. The Political Context of Soil Conservation Programs in Jamaica. Human Organization 1985. Vol. 44(2): 124-131.
The Second Integrated Rural Development Project in Jamaica failed to achieve its soil conservation objectives, in spite of its five-year concentrated efforts. Harvey Blustain explains that it is the national politics and the party in office that indirectly caused these failed outcomes. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the effects that national politics have upon soil conservation efforts in Jamaica.
Soil loss in central Jamaica is high. This is typical when agriculturalists employ traditional farming techniques and, as in Jamaica’s case, fields are located on slopes greater than 20 degrees. Various programs have been introduced to promote soil conservation techniques to Jamaican farmers, but none have succeeded. The Second Integrated Rural Development Project began operation in 1977 until 1983 on a 26.2 million dollar budget. Like any resource management project the IRDP was assessed on four important criteria: 1) technology and replicability; 2) dominating social unit; 3) incentives offered to farmers; and 4) sustainability of the project. The author clearly explains the problematic results of the assessment.
The Jamaican political system can be described as an opposition between the Jamaica Labor Party and the People’s National Party. These two parties have exchanged political power every two terms since British independence. Representation is unevenly distributed with the majority falling in the hands of the farmers. Because of this certain subsidies and incentives are available to the farmers to participate in soil conservation efforts and coincide with the dominating political party. However, these incentives are immediate and do not promote nor support the continued maintenance of equipment and technology necessary for soil conservation. When election years arrive new incentives are created for farmers to persuade votes.
This article was logically organized and easy to follow. The information was presented in a readable manner. The argument was clearly stated and outlined. Blustain does an excellent job formulating and presenting his argument.
PATRICIA CONDON The University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann).
Cisneros, Heliodoro. Felstehausen, Herman. The strategy of Rural Development: The Puebla Initiative. Human organization 1985 Vol. 44 (4):285-292.
Felsthehausen and Cisneros examine the 15-year-old program strategy applied among corn farmers in the state of Puebla, Mexico. They organize their discussion in eight points and provide a descriptive as well analytical information of the Puebla case.
Two fundamental words in the discussion are development and strategy. The authors describe development as “the strategy for acting upon social and environmental constraints in a community and among producers limits” (285); whereas strategy is described as a “plan in response to specific events and circumstances” (285). Research shown that crop production could be multiplied by the 50% or 100 %. However, the important missing part was a method that would consider social and cultural factors and would favor small farmers. Before the Puebla project only producers consumed the maize and almost nobody sold the maize to other places of the country. Therefore, the Puebla project was applied. This model was a planning strategy that aims to achieve not only economical and technical objectives, such as output and efficiency, but also to modify existing institutions and structures of market and supply.
Felsthehausen and Cisneros mention that there were eight elements applied in the Puebla strategy. They are organizing producers, addressing input and infrastructure, research-training connections, and revising communication functions. Following those are acknowledging environmental constraint, dealing with market and price, considering land tenure security and finally building institutional support networks.
In a brief discussion they point out that the best strategy would be the one that takes into consideration peasant economic resources, because they have had previous difficulties obtaining credit to purchase their agricultural materials. However, the farmers view about the strategy and whether or not they find it favorable is not discussed.
Finally, the authors conclude that the implementation of the planning strategy has brought multiple results in Puebla. They state that “the real success of the project was the discovery and test of the elements of a rural development strategy”(291) which included not only natural but also institutional obstacles. Finally the authors state that in areas like Puebla long term efforts and projects are needed.
GISELA RODRIGUEZ University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Colson, Elizabeth Using Anthropology in a World on the Move Human Organization Fall 1985 Volume 44 (3): 191-196
This article is the reproduction of the acceptance speech Elizabeth Colson gave when she won the Malinowski award from the Society for Applied Anthropology in 1985. Colson’s article centers on the use of applied anthropology in the past and its application for the future. She engages the reader with many great examples of work from her colleagues, to enforce her message.
The message that she sets forth is that anthropology should do more than just describe, it should attempt to make a difference. She discusses Malinowski’s theory of functionalism and how it benefits the field of anthropology. By looking at the interconnections of society in a systematic manner, one can ask “If this changed, what else would happen?” This theory is important to applied anthropology because it allows a two way street for viewing systems: Colson explains that…if something works then it is just as capable of not working, if the system does not work then inquires can be made into why it does not work. If the system works then one can question what will happen if change is introduced.
In the early years of applied anthropology we made the assumption that if people possessed accurate information they would make good policy, which would lead to right action; the notion that the truth can be discovered and once it has it will prevail. This naive view has been replaced over the past fifty years with the understanding that governmental organizations, often which fund the anthropologists research, are just as likely to try and silence his findings if they run contrary to established ideology. She states; “Our problem arises rather from the fact that our research challenges what others want to believe; our problem lies in obtaining an audience that will listen when the information is not palatable”. The issue is not that the facts are unknown but rather that agencies do not act on them. Colson also warns that organizations may have alternatives agendas. These agendas may not be easily seen, but it is the job of the applied anthropologist to recognize the agenda. She also warns of the dangers involved working within a system; becoming absorbed into the system and accepting its ideas. While it is necessary for applied anthropologist to become involved in a system, if he wishes to be heard, it is crucial to realize that the system has its own agendas which can envelop the researcher.
This article was well written and full of examples. The ideas put forth by Colson are clearly laid out and explained. In the nearly twenty years since its publication attitudes toward the responsibility of applied anthropologists have changed little; Colson eloquently conveys just what these responsibilities are. This article is a ‘must read’ for any student in the field of applied anthropology.
JASON SHEDD University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
DeWalt, Billie R. Farming Systems Research. Human Organization, 1985, Vol 22 (2): 106-114.
DeWalt’s main point in this article is that understanding the sociocultural factors in place in the farming system is necessary for improvements in the farming system to happen. First, DeWalt gives background information for farming systems research. DeWalt describes farming systems research as “an approach to rural development…in the last decade” (106). It examines the interdependence on the elements controlled by the farming household and how these elements interact with various factors not under the control of said household.
The author points out the problems inherent with applying farming techniques successful to developed nations to smaller developing countries. This then leads the author into a discussion of applying a more diagnostic level of research on small individual farmers to better understand and suit their needs. However, the article does point out the downside to this more holistic approach: it is usually conducted right before the adaptive agricultural work is about to begin and can take a lot of valuable time away from such work. Because of this issue of time constraints, DeWalt explains the need for designing time efficient and effective research elements.
Next, DeWalt further explains the limits of holism. Also, DeWalt addresses the question of what should be included in farming systems research. This article stresses the point that ideas should be more concisely presented in reports such as those involved in farming systems research, and the holistic approach, aside from limiting time, can produce lengthy, inconcise observations.
DeWalt concludes with the statement that “The proof of FSR will be in the results that it achieves,” and that it will have to undergo some evolutionary changes to produce this proof (111).
ALAHNA TOIGO University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Fjellman, Stephen M., and Gladwin, Hugh. Haitian Family Patterns of Migration to South Florida. Human Organization. 1985 Vol. 44(4): 301 – 312.
This article is partly concerned with the subject matter indicated by it’s title and partly with the unfair treatment of Haitan ‘immigrants’ to the United States. The broad overview is to take the cases of seven independent Haitian families, or cases, and study how they managed to immigrate to south Florida. This was precluded by a broad explanation of the history of Haitian immigration starting with the first arrival of Europeans on the island of Haiti hundreds of years ago and moving through the modern-day raft immigrants who are so frequently turned away from U.S. shores. The authors indicate various ‘periods’ of immigration spurred by different cultural and environmental factors and the environments in which they settled which helped to create stereotypes of the Haitian communities.
The authors claim that Haitian migration was driven principally by social motivations as opposed to the Marxist position that all migration is influenced principally by labor. What is principally meant by social motivations is a drive by familial and cultural relationships. This link through the family is the cornerstone of the migration process. It is through the family that a single individual is able to acquire the resources and oppurtunity to cross into the United States and it is through this individual that the family is able to achieve it’s own passage.
After this initial discussion the paper moves to discuss the seven principle case studies out of the twenty that were undertaken by the authors and their colleagues. These entries contain brief family histories as well as charts of family movement into the US. These charts do not only note who has made the transition into the U.S. proper and into the household but those who are waiting and those who have been detained by U.S. authorities. All of these charts and histories are thorough and to the point as to the trials and tribulations of the families concerned. The article itself was well done and ended on a hopeful plea to include focus on the family unit in further studies. Although, originally I found the somehow ‘activist’ tone of the paper disheartening in a paper that should have been more scientific the final pages proved my assumptions wrong and rounded the article into an informative work with a profound touch of humanitarianism.
GARY ALLEN HAWKINS II University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Green, Sara E., Thomas A. Rich, and Edgar G. Nesman. Beyond Individual Literacy: The Role of Shared Literacy For Innovation in Guatemala. Human Organization 1985. Vol. 44(4): 313-321.
This article reports on literacy studies conducted among agricultural families in rural Guatemala. Nearly seven million people live in rural areas (two-thirds the population), and over 60 percent of the labor force practices agriculture. Developing and educational programs have yet to reach these rural families and this lack of information is directly affecting the level of production and the use of modern agricultural practices. Guatemala is similar to other developing world agricultural countries in this respect.
The authors set out to test three specific hypotheses: 1) family literacy has a direct correlation with the use of modern agricultural practices, regardless of individual literacy; 2) the correlations between family literacy and modern agricultural practices are not affected by the introduction of variables; and 3) family literacy and its correlation to the use of modern agricultural practices is not affected by the Basic Village Education Project use of “radio treatment”. Each of the hypotheses is concerned with the correlation of family literacy and the use of modern agricultural practices.
The authors are concerned with two types of literacy: family literacy and individual literacy. Family literacy, or group literacy, implies that the majority of the individuals in a group are literate. Individual literacy refers to one member’s literacy skills within a group or family. Development and the use of modern agricultural methods refer to the Western definition of modernization and increased production and sustainability.
To test these hypotheses, the researchers collected data from the Basic Village Education Project, which was a multi-year project that had collected literacy information on over 1,300 Guatemalan farmers. The BVE Project was designed to study if communication media had an effect upon farmer’s use of modern agricultural methods. The researchers acquired information from the BVE Project and conducted a variety of individual and family interviews, and additional testing that was more suitable for answering their questions.
Analysis of the collected data took into consideration cultural differences of rural farmers in Guatemala. The general findings concluded that family literacy was important in the implementation of modern agricultural practices, but individual literacy was not effective in implementing modern agricultural practices.
The article was subdivided into logical sections including Methodology, Findings and Conclusion allowing for a straightforward presentation of the information and results. More attention to the description of the methodology employed would have been helpful to highlight the main differences between the BVE Project and the literacy study conducted by the authors of this article. Prior knowledge of studies like the BVE Project would benefit the reader’s understanding of the information presented.
PATRICIA CONDON The University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann).
Hopkins, Diane E. The Peruvian Agrarian Reform: Dissent from Below. Human Organization Spring, 1985 Vol.44(1):18-32.
According to Diane Hopkins, the 1969 Agrarian Reform Law paved the way for State control of local farming communities in Peru. After stating this argument in the opening paragraphs, Hopkins compares two Peruvian communities and their adaptations to this legislation.
The first and oldest community described is known as Seqsinqalla. Seqsinqalla is a rural farming community located near the Vilcanota River. The economy is based on high levels of cooperation, and land is divided evenly among the sexes. This trend leads to an increase in small, diverse plots of land. The community is governed by an assembly consisting of local residents, and all decisions made by the assembly are considered binding.
The second community, Lluth, also has a farm economy, and is located near the Manqo River. This community practices farming on communal lands rather than individually owned plots. In addition to the family income from farming, eucalyptus trees are planted on communal property in order to pay communal debts. This village is also governed by an elected assembly.
Hopkins next attempts to provide the history of the Agrarian Reform Law. She states sixteen different goals purported by the founders of the law, and uses multiple allusions to the legislative history of the country of Peru. All of this combined with a complicated timeline is quite dense and confusing. She actually states, “These diverse goals did not compose a coherent and complete program for transforming the agricultural sector.” (Hopkins 1985:21) These goals did not help compose a coherent article either.
The power of State intervention as allowed by the Agrarian Reform Law lies in the cooperatives formed by the law. The State formed and controlled the cooperatives through loaning the capital needed for their creation. By controlling the debt, the State can influence peasant politics, control what is produced, regulate food prices, and subsidize industrial development with agrarian money.
Although the State attempted to organize cooperatives in both communities, they kept their traditional methods of organization. This is an important event, and the author offers several explanations for this occurrence. She claims the Andean peasants have different perspectives on production organization, and their dominant notion of reciprocity isn’t conducive to the Agrarian Reform Law.
This article was dense and at times very hard to follow. An inclusion of specific case studies of communities that were indebted to the State would have been helpful.
MICHAEL P. FEDOROFF University of Southern Mississippi (Jeffrey Kaufmann)
Jorgensen, Joseph G., Richard Mccleary, and Steven Mcnabb. Social Indicators in Native Village Alaska. Human Organization, 1985 Vol. 44: 2-17.
In this article, Joseph G. Jorgensen, Richard Mccleary, and Steven Mcnabb research a system of social indicators in eight native villages in Alaska. The main emphasis of the research is to explore the potential socio-economic changes in these particular communities and the results that the possible changes could have. The examination would be based on a triangulation approach, research designs, and data sets. These comprise of autoregressive times-series analysis or archival data, multivariate analysis of interview data, and contextual and anecdotal analysis of ethnographic observation (2). The authors used two models to illustrate social change – “Western Industrial” and “Underdevelopment (2).”
The authors explored these eight villages – four from (NANA) Northwest Alaska Native Association and four from the (APIA) Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (3). After examining the villages for awhile, the authors gave a concluding hypothesis that “household size, labor, resource and income pooling and sharing activities, and the proportional investment of total income into subsistence activities, will be sensitive to impact, and changes to these variables over time will indicates changes to other variable” (9).
The authors guessed that the “Underdevelopment” model would better describe the conditions of these villages because if anything comes into the community that is not naturally suppose to be there and disrupts the village life, the village may not be able to survive; therefore proving underdevelopment (17).
In this reviewer’s opinion, the authors were not quite clear on the ideas and examples that they were trying to express. I believe that there is more to understanding cultures than just focusing on the social indicators.
SUMMER CUTRER The University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Levine, H.B. Entrepreneurship and Social Change: Implications from a New Zealand Study Case. Human Organization, 1985 Vol. 44(4): 293-300
The broad context of Levine’s argument focuses on the impact of entrepreneurial fishing on the economy and society of New Zealand’s Stewart Island peoples. In a brief introduction to this article Levine clearly states his main objectives and arguments for this “ethnographic approach” to the study of entrepreneurship and social change. He sets out to prove in this article that “rationality and maximization are ideologies, imbedded in wider social contexts, whose use cannot be understood without properly relating them to this context-are shown to be relevant to the study of entrepreneurship in any culture.” (All quotes-Levine, Intro, pg 293)
Levine is concerned here with deconstructing the ideas and attitudes of Barth (1981) pertaining to the emphasis placed on the pursuit of profit maximization and self-interest as generating social form. Levine uses this platform to demonstrate how entrepreneurial activity, rationality and maximization and related social change in a small business oriented and individualistic community such as Stewart Island is bounded by socio-cultural context and contradiction. His main focus is to prove that the economic strategies are part of a cultural system and not a natural activity as suggested by Sahlins 1976 work. He stipulates that while Barth’s theories and ones that are similar certainly contribute to social change use of these theories as a primary explanation is given too much weight in assessment and borders on ethnocentrism.
His basic out line of Stewart Island is of a community whose main economic focus is the fishing industry. New populations have entered the island creating a social environment that is no longer bound by Island customs. Old ways of “gentlemen’s agreements” and respecting others fishing territories have given way to better gear, advanced technology and the idea of “fishing to make money, rather than fishing to make a living.” There are no formal management systems in place on Stewart Island and the social constraints that once contained the tension of competition has evaporated with the influx of outsiders.
The approaching tragedy of Stewart Island is a complete economic collapse due to resource depletion. The new social strata has created a division of day fisherman, who fish the inner waters (the new islanders and a few old timers with out the resources to do otherwise), and the outer water fishers (Island locals-Old timers) who are gone for several days. This social divergence leaves the men who respect the ecological aspects of their jobs and the need for limited catch and the men who fish for profit, ignoring the long term effects of their actions on the environment and society.
This economic situation has lead to a contradictory life style for the locals. They realize the need for reduced fishing, are committed to their economic lifestyle and the preservation of it. Their awareness of the situation is exacerbated by the new populations actions leaving them no choice but to act in ways (increased fishing) that is in direct opposition to their ideals.
Entrepreneurial change is not a positive social action as viewed by Barth in this context. It is a course of economic destruction that becomes inescapable as resources decline and technology increases leaving only a few members of the society with the necessary resources for survival. Rationality and maximization appear as one side of the two conflicting ideologies on Stewart Island and not the principles of social organization as explained in currently held theories.
Society and economy break down rapidly as the conflicting ideologies erode the two structures creating irreparable damage to both. “The economic rationality then, is as open to conflict, manipulation and selective use as any other, and hardly presents a sufficient base upon which to build a theory of change or social structure even in a western capitalist culture, let alone any other.” (Levine, pg 298) The study of Stewart Island fisherman and the “mechanical models” of culture they produce cannot be reduced to economizing.
This article is rather dense and requires more than one reading to bring out the ideas that Levine wishes to convey. It is a good argument and one I feel he supported well with the case study of Stewart Island. He supplies more than adequate argument for viewing economic decisions and entrepreneurial activity as being positive through more than a social lens.
MARQUETTA A. SMITH University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Oasa, Edmund K. Farming Systems Research: A Change in Form But Not in Content.Human Organization. 1985. Vol. 44( 3): 219-227.
This article is concerned with the author’s attempt to briefly relate the new and emerging field of FSR (Farming Systems Research). This program arose as an attempt to research technologies that would increase production through farming for Third World nations. The author states at the outset of the article that labeling FSR as an emerging and new science is a misnomer and proceeds to inform the reader of previous incarnations of the program that include such well known projects as ‘the green revolution’. Oasa’s final estimation of FSR in opposition to it’s previous incarnations is that it’s focus on the small-time farmers who are struggling with their buisness is an “attractive and logical outcome”.
The next segment of this article deals with FSR’s structural make-up as an evolution of previous programs. In essence FSR grew out of a growing focus on the small farm owner. The new strategy of this evolving research method was ‘bottom to top’ in lieu of the traditional ‘top to bottom’. Citing new outlined steps in the process of FSR as well as a call for more efficient participation are a significant portion of this section of the article. To conclude his article Oasa defends his theories by moving through the various major figures and theories he covered in the article to further admonish his point with closing arguments on each subject.
By my estimation the author of this article did an exceptional job of furthering his point as well as broaching the current state of FSR and it’s future. His information is quite detailed and his sources are routinely focused on two or three major individuals and their theories. I found the article easy to understand, if difficult to read, despite it’s sometimes technical nature.
GARY ALLEN HAWKINS II University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Podolefsky, Aaron M., Ph.D. Rejecting Crime Prevention Programs: The Dynamics of Program Implementation in High Need Communities. Human Organization Spring 1985 Vol 44 (1): 33-40.
The overall problem within the journal article “Rejecting Crime Prevention Programs: The Dynamics of Program Implementation in High Need Communities” is the fact that government programs set up to help communities ridden with crime are not based upon the needs of specific communities. The author argues that all urban communities are not alike and that the same crime prevention strategy cannot be used for different communities with different crime problems. He argues that a different strategy must be enacted to deal with crime in each community based upon the needs of the community.
Podolefsky introduces the reader to data research done on ten different crime ridden communities within San Francisco in 1976. He focuses mainly on a community called the Mission District. Within the Mission District community the residents sent out a cry to the police department for some way to deal with crime in their community. The police force acted by implementing a government funded program called SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone.) The police department elected officials from within the community to head up the program and carry out community crime prevention meetings and to give awareness lectures. The main policies to all the crime prevention strategies focus on getting the individuals in the neighborhood acquainted with each other and educating individuals on security and crime prevention strategies.
As stated, the residents of the Mission District community demanded the police to organize something for them to help with the crime problem, but once the police did the community involvement became slim to none. The author makes the point that for a community based program like SAFE to work the community must be involved. The Mission District community is made up of individuals from different economic and ethnic backgrounds. The author suggests that the community cannot pull itself together and work together because the individuals are so different. Since the residents cannot pull themselves together they relied on the police force to pull them together. When the police force did they became outraged and felt the police were not giving them a say so in the matters that faced their community. The members of the community eventually felt that the administrators of the SAFE program were going behind their backs and the mayor was only using the program to get himself reelected.
Podolefsky organizes the material in an orderly manner. He introduces the reader to the problem and then gives the research data to back up the problem. I feel that the research given on Mission District could have been a little less. I feel that I was given too much irrelevant information. I do feel however that Podolefsky presented a good point and backed his point up nicely with sound evidence.
HAYLEY DICKERSON University of Southern Mississippi (Jeffery Kaufmann)
Rhoades, Robert E. Farming Systems Research. Human Organization 1989 Vol.44 (3): 215-218.
The overall problem given in the journal article “Farming Systems Research” is the inefficiency in which agro-economic anthropologists gather their research from farmers. The author suggests that these agro-economic anthropologists should focus more on anthropological methods and theories to extract their answers from farmers. The author sets out to drive home the point that an informal survey with small groups of rural farmers is the best way to extract information on agro-economy. The author feels that informal survey method gives the anthropologist a front row seat into the agricultural community being studied.
The author states that these surveys should be very informal and noninvasive. The farmers should be given the opportunity to set up the interviews at the best time for themselves and should feel in total control. The author suggest the best time for conducting these interviews is in the off-planting season or in early morning hours when the farmers have the most time for talking. He suggests that field notes can be taken but agro-economic anthropologist should not try to write down every word just the key points.
The author gives the agro-economic anthropologist a series of steps he or she should follow in conducting the informal interview process. Step one is field work preparation. The anthropologist should familiarize himself with the layout of the land to be analyzed. Step two is to decide what information needs to be extracted from these farmers before ever setting foot in the field. Step three is the actual interview. During the interview the anthropologist should try not to ask too evasive questions and let the farmer feel in total control of the interview. The dialogue shared between the anthropologist and the farmer should be as informal as possible and the anthropologist should try to avoid too much science jargon. After all the research has been covered a report should immediately been drawn up by the anthropologist and immediately distributed to all interested parties.
The evidence presented within this article is very well organized with a step method of presentation, which can be easily followed and understood. The evidence is stated and defined to insure there will be no confusion in meaning. These informal surveys if conducted in an orderly fashion following the author’s easy step program should yield vast amounts of helpful information to further Farming Systems Research.
HAYLEY DICKERSON University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Rogers, Susan Carol. Owners and Operators of Farmland: Structural Changes in U.S. Agriculture. Human Organization Fall, 1985 Vol. 44(3): 206-214.
Land tenure patterns are important indicators of social influence among the farming culture. Susan Rogers explores these patterns among the commercial agriculture sector of the United States. She uses ethnographic data gathered from two Illinois farming communities of German-American ethnicity. She explains in her opening paragraphs that there is little difference in income, status, or standard of living between the two communities. She divides land tenure into three main categories: Full ownership, part ownership, and tenants. The part owner dominates both communities, yet she claims she can show variation within this tenure category between the two populations.
The two communities used in this study, Freiburg and St. Boniface, were both originally studied as part of a larger project by Sonya Salamon. The data in this study was gathered using survey, interview, and one year of participant observation of community life.
In Freiburg, the study suggests that a traditional tenure ladder system has survived. This system consists of mostly part-owners, yet “…part-ownership seems to be a temporary status, preliminary to full operator control through ownership of all the land in an operation.” (Rogers 1985:208) This symbiotic relationship allows for landowners to become bound by, “…long-term personal ties and by shared community values.” (Rogers 1985:209)
In contrast, St. Boniface has no tenure ladder system. This means that, “…their relationships with their landlords are less likely to be regulated by the moral obligations of close kinship or shared community membership.” (Rogers 1985:209) Rogers includes charts in which the ownership relationships can be clearly understood.
After exploring the ownership trends, inheritance patterns are next explained. For example, in the community of Frieburg, the land is inherited by the son. The siblings of this son must be paid by the son as compensation for his inheritance. This type of land transfer facilitates a fluid transition from generation to generation. It also allows for communal relationships with tenants and other farmers to be maintained. In communities such as St. Boniface, “…tenants expect to lease a tract of land indefinitely.” (Rogers 1985:212) This close relationship is an integral part of the farms success. Whenever these relationships are severed, the vitality of the farm is lost. The function of inheritance plays a vital role in farm production and ownership, and Rogers does a good job of making the connection between ownership and risk management. “It will then become very difficult for farm operators, unsure of the size of their operations from one year to the next, to make the kinds of medium- and long-run plans required for good management.” (Rogers 1985:213)
This article gives an insightful view of land tenure and the role it plays in farm production and planning. The charts were easy to read and well presented, and the information contained in them is beneficial.
MICHAEL P. FEDOROFF University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Tripp, Robert, Anthropology and On-Farm Research. Human Organization, 1985, Vol. 44 (2): 114-124.
Tripp starts this article with an eye-opening statement about an official from an African nation. This official criticized farming research methods testing in Africa as yet another program to produce more papers and scholarly degrees without giving Africa practical and long lasting results. Tripp agrees with this official and states that, for farming systems research to be beneficial, it needs to produce more sustained results. He outlines his justification for the paper as to discuss procedures and the importance anthropology plays in assuring effectiveness.
Tripp then goes into a discussion of what On Farm Research is. On Farm Research is less generalized than “farming systems research.” It focuses on limited elements and seeks to make technology specific to individual groups. He analyzes the sequences that makes this possible. One of the main phases is the Diagnosis Phase. During this phase, attempts to understand current practices (and can “give a voice to the farmers” 116) and defining possible research areas occur (by defining enterprise and production practices). It also is the basis for the establishment of experimental programs. This phase also gives an understanding of the constraints which led to the problems being studied. This is an important element in this phase, because it can help test the compatibility of technologies with the farming system being studied. Another phase, the Analytical Phase, is discussed as that which assures that the farmer’s analysis of the criteria is included in the process.
Next, Tripp gives an example from Ecuador. This example outlines the above phases. He includes various charts in his discussion.
Finally, he brings the article full-circle in his conclusion. He recognizes the value of such research, but is cynical of the long-term results that it produces (or does not produce, as the case may be). It is his contention that this system will continue to operate in such a way until its lack of applicable results and funding contribute to its abandonment. He argues in the end of the article that a “redirection of farming systems approach requires more attention to methods that can both generate…change… and be used by national research programs” is needed (121).
ALAHNA TOIGO University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Waldram, James B. Hydroelectric Development and Dietary Delocalization in Northern Manitoba, Canada. Human Organization Spring, 1985 Vol. 44(1): 41-49.
Correlations are often found between industrial development and dietary delocalization, yet extensive impact assessments on diet and nutrition often fail to be made before such development. James Waldram’s study takes a closer look at the negative impacts of a Hydroelectric Development project on the indigenous Native American diet in Manitoba, Canada. Waldram focuses on a Cree Indian community by the name of Whitefish Lake. This was one community predicted to be severely impacted, and for this reason it was an excellent choice.
He begins his work by offering us a brief and concise account of the pre-hydro Whitefish Lake economy. He divides the economy into four basic sectors: Commercial, Domestic, Wage labor, and Transfer payment. He stresses the extreme self-reliance exhibited by the community’s cooperative efforts.
He proceeds to show that the post-hydro economy exhibits an increase in dependence on social assistance, and claims this was achieved due to the falling Commercial and Domestic economy. Waldram states this downfall was caused chiefly by the flooding during the hydro project which led to decreased hunting and fishing success, yet he never makes a convincing case that the hydro project was the source of ruining the hunting and fishing. Many other factors could have led to the same result such as the limit on the carrying capacity of the land or over hunting and fishing the same resources annually.
Next he touches briefly upon the new services indirectly caused by the hydro-project. He defines these services as “benefits” and they include things such as television, telephone, and a bigger store. These “benefits” have increased the level of local consumerism, and further impoverished the local community. The catalyst for these new services, the hydro-project, also served to cripple the ability of the residents to afford them. This crippling consumerism caused by the hydro-project seems to be the real danger to the health of the Native Americans.
After conducting a 14 month study, Waldram concludes that there has been an increase in store bought food consumption and a decrease in “bush” foods such as meats and fish. Numerous figures are included in his report, yet their presentation is confusing and very complicated. One figure that did not support his overall argument was that trappers only showed a 2% increase in store bought food consumption. He never accounts for the health of these community members, and he only focuses on the more sedentary townsmen. A better explanation of tables would increase the clarity of this section.
Waldram closes with an overview of the health assessments of the Whitefish Lake residents. Although he has no pre-project health data, he assumes that the Native Americans at Whitefish Lake have suffered immense health trauma due to the diet and nutrition changes during the post-hydro days. He attributes the trend toward unhealthy foods to the inability of the locals to afford better foods, yet he never explains why the people do not adapt the successful strategies undertaken by the trappers in their community.
MICHAEL P. FEDOROFF University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)
Weaver, Thomas Anthropology as a Policy Science: Part II, Development & Training.Human Organization 1985 Vol. 44: 197-205.
Thomas Weaver addresses the value of Anthropology to policy science. He asserts, that “those anthropologists …concerned with contemporary society hold relevant knowledge of immense value for projecting goals and programs” (197). Anthropology could indeed be valuable to policy-making and applied Anthropology should be more developed in order to affectively have an impact on policy. He states outright that Anthropologists “will remain ineffective in communicating policy-relevant knowledge until a professional corps is encouraged and trained” (198). Therefore, he discusses the probabilities of infusing more of a cross-disciplinary approach into the curriculum. While Weaver recognizes that it would be difficult to expand our discipline without inhibiting our understanding of the essential four-field approach (biological, linguistic, diachronic, and cultural studies), he also maintains that it is essential within anthropology to discuss new fields and developments and incorporate them.
One reason Weaver cites that Anthropologists have been reluctant to pursue careers influencing policy is that the “egalitarian personality of the anthropologist [may preclude] the more competitive, power seeking, authoritarian personality requirements of administration and politics” (199). Also, the task of studying the “culture of policy makers” has often been avoided and hence many attempts at affecting policy have been unsuccessful (199). He has very thoroughly compiled suggestions made on the subject as well as developed a current criteria in order to train anthropologists who can affectively influence policy science. He lists and discusses the specific areas that Applied Anthropologists must focus as follows: 1. The systems-functional-holistic approach, 2. the emic approach, 3. The cross-cultural or comparative method (less emphasized), 4. The Anthropologist as cultural interpreter, and 5. Ethnographic field techniques. Weaver goes on to make several pertinent citations depicting the efficacy of such training to policy-makers.
Weaver calls attention to the fact that there is “no difference in a nuclear scientist making a statement about the disposal of nuclear wastes, and the statement of an anthropologist calling world attention to the extermination of the Yanomamo in order to place pressure on the Brazilian government to take corrective action. Both are factually based moral statements. Both have the potential to influence policy, but are effective only when they are recognized by power-holders who convert them into appropriate policies” (202). Thus is the importance of this consideration.
CLARITY RANKING 4
NATALIE B. ROBERTS University of Southern Mississippi (Jeff Kaufmann)