Human Organization 1998
Acheson, James M. “Lobster Trap Limits: A Solution to a Communal Action Problem.Human Organization, 1998 Vol. 57 (1): 43-52
“Lobster Trap Limits: A Solution to a Communal Action Problem”, by James M. Acheson, is a discussion of the need for limits on lobster traps, and why they have or have not worked in various communities. He chooses four island communities in Maine to serve as examples, and his analysis of these situations can be applied to the broader question: under what conditions are norms are created? His intention is to identify why certain groups of people will choose one method or another, or why they do not set limits at all.
To answer this question, he turns to his study of lobster tap limits. Certain characteristics are necessary within a harbor gang to make communally accepted traps limits feasible. Acheson finds that these characteristics occur exclusively in those gangs that live and work on islands. He describes four communities, and the similarities and differences in how they approach the question of setting limits on the number of lobster traps any one fisherman may use. The four islands he discusses are Mohegan, Criehaven, Green Island, and Swan’s Island. The date that each island began exporting lobsters and type of trap limit set are all stated and discussed.
He concludes that islands, rather than the mainland, are most likely to set limits, because they are perimeter-defended territories rather than nucleated ones – a close, small community is simply more likely to keep and stick to trap limit rules. Political entrepreneurship is always necessary; the limits that do exist only came about after years of hard work and campaigning on the part of highly successful fishermen. On the mainland, fishermen have very little incentive to set limits because there is no way to enforce them. Also, part-time fishers often provide competition, causing full-time fishers to set out more of their own traps in order to maintain a steady income. Ultimately, for both the centralized and decentralized means of determining norms, Acheron finds that “the nature of boundaries, ability to limit entry, political entrepreneurship, group size and social capital all play a role” (51) in the formation of these norms.
LAURA BERNSTEIN University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper).
Agrawal, A. Profits of the Move: The Economics of Collective Migration among the Raika Shepherds in India. Human Organization, 1998. Vol 57(4): 469-478.
In this article, Arun Agrawal takes an in depth look at the Raikas, one of the largest groups of migrant pastoralists in India. Agrawal is interested in the Raikas because of their tendency to group smaller herds (in this case, of sheep) into a larger collective herd when they migrate. Agrawal aims at understanding the reason behind this collective mobility and what makes it, as opposed to individual mobility, more desirable. He is also concerned with the tendency of many anthropologists to simply accept one form of migration or another as naturalized. He is a staunch opponent to this and sets out to get at the Raika’s reasons for forming a collective mobility.
The Raikas migrate in groups called dangs, the constituent unit of which is an ewar. Each dang has between eight and eighteen ewars. Agrawal studied thirteen different dangs and collected data on the expenditures and revenues that were accrued by each group over the course of the migration. From this data, he points out that those dangs with larger flock sizes are able to produce a larger profit. By banding together, herdsmen create economies that would not exist were they not to form a collective.
Agrawal suggests the Raikas benefit from the collective mobility of banding together because it addresses the social, political, and environmental variability to which they are subjected. Collective mobility allows shepherds to become a vocal community, permitting them to strengthen their voice with numbers and thereby defend their own interests more effectively. Collective mobility also causes added exchange in market places because of the increased flock sizes. According to Agrawal, this increased interaction in the market is critical for the continuation of a traditional pastoralist lifestyle.
The security benefits offered by this form of migration allows individuals who normally would be vulnerable on their own to establish a collective which is able to confront security risks, such as theft and other conflicts that arise in a constantly changing social environment.
Agrawal sees the collective migration as necessary in the face of governmental forces which are trying to permanently settle these people. This attests to the complex and highly variable environments in which the Raika must thrive. Pastoralists achieve their livelihood through mobility, and this mobility is furthered by migrating collectively rather than as individuals as well as by market participation. Basically, when faced with conditions such as the Raika’s, migration has to take on a collective form, or it will not happen.
ELLIOT MICHAEL SIEBERS University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Alvarez, Robert R. Jr. La Maroma, or Chile, Credit and Chance: An Ethnographic Case of Global Finance and Middlemen Entrepreneurs. Human Organization 1998 Vol. 57 (1): 63-72.
The goal of this article is to explain the Mexican-American chile trade and the effects of imposed capitalism on the middlemen entrepreneurs. The author argues that this account is an ethnographic study of trading middlemen marketers in Mexico. To begin, the article defines a few of the key terms involved with the chile trade. One term, “la maroma,” defines the logic behind the middleman entrepreneur. It is a high-risk involvement, because positive outcomes are reliant on the skill and cunning of the entrepreneur. For example, the entrepreneur must anticipate capital gain in order to keep his company well supplied materially. In this instance, he is paying with money he has not yet attained. The article illustrates the definition of “la mamora” with an elaborate story about a hypothetical man named “Juan” in Mexico. Juan is a middleman entrepreneur who loses his job due to capitalist ideals, and begins business for himself. As a self-starting man, Juan does not possess much of his own capital, and therefore relies on forming a trusted bond with his employees, who mainly consist of friends and relatives. Because of his “la maroma,” or accurate anticipation of outcomes, Juan’s business thrives.
Furthermore, the article focuses largely on another definition that coincides with “la maroma.” This concept, called “chileros,” defines the idea of minimum capital means extending to maximum buying activity among Mexican entrepreneurs. Once again, using Juan as the prototype, the author stipulates that the requisite for “chilero” is an understanding of the variability of banks, capital access, and other information that can be carefully manipulated. Juan succeeds because he effectively employs trusted family members and friends, who do not require high working wages. As capital gain increases, Juan uses his banking skills to efficiently order inventory, select the best banks (Mexican middlemen are known to use at least 4 or 5 different banks), and account for payroll.
Lastly, the article concludes with the information that the chile trade between Mexico and the United States is a co-dependent relationship. Greater ethnic diversity in the United States creates the need for ethnic-type foods, such as chilies. The United States relies heavily on the vegetation of Mexico. Mexican entrepreneurs are able to market their goods effectively in the United States because of the demand. They are at risk, however, because U.S. companies are fickle, and will drop a producer to hire a more cost-effective substitute. It is in the chile trade relations and thought processes that we recognize the ethnography of the Mexican middlemen entrepreneurs.
SARAH CATAROZZOLI University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Andreatta, Susan L. Agrochemical Exposure and Farmworker Health in the Caribbean: A Local/Global Perspective. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57(3):350-357)
Susan Andreatta addresses the agrochemical problems three Caribbean Islands face with the unregulated use of biocides on crop and livestock production. The three islands she studied were Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent. Andreatta interviewed farmers, agricultural producers, and officials from each island. Andreatta’s goal was to demonstrate the unavoidable health issues that are directly caused by agrochemical use and disposal. The following paragraphs will outline the causes of biocide use, and also the major reasons why agrochemical use poses a health hazard to individuals and the environment.
Although tourism has become one of the major economic strongholds in the Caribbean over the last half century, agricultural exports continue to play a large role in the livelihood of many island inhabitants. The governments of the three islands have resorted to exportation of nontraditional foods, such as asparagus to compensate for struggling economies.
Many nontraditional food items are being grown for exportation to the United States and other countries. As a result of growing non-endemic crops, biocides have been used more frequently. The economic pressure to grow nontraditional crops further increased biocide use, because farmers had to use a greater number and amount of biocides to prevent infestation of crops that are most successfully grown elsewhere. In addition, the consumer demand for fruits and vegetables to meet certain physical characteristics, like shape or color also increased pesticide use.
As of 1998, the Caribbean had no formal regulations regarding the uses of biocides. In fact, many of the pesticides used are on the United States’ restricted or cancelled lists. As more pesticides become resistant to pests and diseases because of overuse, “cocktail” pesticides are increasing in popularity. Farmers are mixing various pesticides in order to create non-resistant products. This is dangerous because chemical reactions from combining pesticides have not been studied, and the effects may be even more detrimental than using a single pesticide.
Farmers must deal with a huge conflict of interest. They need to provide food and shelter for their families, but at what cost? Health risks, even death has been linked to prolonged exposure to biocides. In Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent there is a lack of protective clothing and disposal containers to help decrease health problems. The reproductive health of men and women has also suffered. Sterility, miscarriages, and birth defects are frequent problems associated with overexposure to biocides.
The environment also suffers from ongoing biocide use. Run-off pollution from pesticides kills fish and makes bodies of water unsafe for people to consume. Many indigenous animals also have experienced population decreases. Many pesticide containers are improperly disposed of, and have been found near populated areas.
Many farmers on the three islands have not been adequately educated about the dangers of pesticides and their usage. Andreatta asserts that the solution does not solely rest on education. Rather, the economic interests in the Caribbean and the rest of the world must embrace safer farming practices.
ABIGAIL ROSS University of Wisconsin- Madison (Larry Nesper).
Andreatta, Susan L. . Agrochemical Exposure and Farm Worker Health in the Caribbean: A Local/Global Perspective. 1998 Vol. 57, No. 3 (350-358)
This article addresses the political ecology surrounding farm worker health and environment in Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent. The author defines political ecology as the combination of “concerns of ecology and political economy to encompass the constantly shifting dialectic between societies and land-based resources and also within classes and groups within a society.” Susan Andreatta examines the transformation of agro-food systems and production processes in these countries, arguing that trade dependencies on international markets have played a major role in negatively affecting the quality of farm workers’ lives.
Through conducting over 100 interviews with farm workers, government and agency officials, transnational representatives, and healthcare officials, Andreatta gained a broad view of the history, present day, and future projection of agro-food production in these three countries.
She provides a brief history of what led the plantocrats to abandon their large land plots due to economic devastations in the early 20th century. The governments of these three countries divided up the land and distributed small portions to poor and landless inhabitants, who were trying to compete in world trade markets. This did not prove successful in many ways, and by the 1970s, in attempts to jumpstart much needed economic development, governments of these countries opened their export base to a wide range of non-traditionally grown agro-foods. This, in turn, says Andreatta, negatively affected the health of farm workers.
A number of health problems resulted. The non-traditional plants attracted more pests in the tropical climates. Due to the prolonged use of certain agrochemicals, many farmlands have become “pesticide-tolerant pest environments.” Another problem is that transnational corporations which sell the agrochemicals in bulk to countries like Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent limit essential information about proper usage information to Third World countries, which increases the risk of biocide exposure. There are no official records of approved pesticides, control of imports, or disposal information. Few farm workers have the time or money to attend the limited outreach programs concerning farm worker health.
The responsibility of learning how to properly use the agrochemicals lies on the farm workers themselves, who most often do not receive usage instructions from the transnational corporations. Commonly, farm workers do not wear protective clothing or take precautious measures when using these chemicals because these options are often more costly than the farmers can afford. As a result, laborers are often directly exposed to hazardous chemicals biweekly. There are hundreds of documented eye damage health cases, as well as very high percentage of reproductive damage. The author estimates an even higher rate of serious health complications that are unreported each year.
BRITTANY REED University of Wisconsin Madison (Larry Nesper)
Berardi, Gigi. Application of Participatory Rural Appraisal in Alaska. Human Organization, 1998. Vol. 57 (4): 438-446.
Gigi Berardi discusses, in this article, the problems associated with the current extractive research techniques being used in rural Alaska in connection with attempts to implement modern technology. She makes it apparent throughout her article that the current techniques being used cause resentment and insecurity. This response by the local people eventually leads to the failure of the very projects, which are to be implemented. Berardi specifically discusses in this article the present problems of gathering information to form a workable sanitation system in Village Alaska. She argues that if Participatory Rural Appraisal is used then the villagers will not respond with the usual resentment to the invasions of their privacy and, in turn, will not end up resenting the project in general. In fact, Berardi argues that if Participatory Rural Appraisal is used, as a research method, the people will become more involved, which will quell their fears of having their statements taken out of context and misconstrued and therefore they will tend to provide more honest information. Berardi believes that if the villagers are involved in the gathering of the information for the design of their sanitation system, then the project will be more successful in the end, due to community support.
Berardi supports her claims by using the Participatory Rural Appraisal method in a community similar to Village Alaska. The community with which she worked was a village in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, which was contemplating a sanitation system of their own. The results that she obtained supported her claims that the same participatory method would have a strong positive effect in the current problems in Village Alaska’s situation. However, Berardi does believe that the Participatory Rural Appraisal method should be modified specifically for use in Village Alaska, due to its unique dualism of modernism and traditionalism.
Berardi also concedes that the strength of the Participatory Rural Appraisal method is that it elaborates on the information on the complexities of the community that may play an important role in the eventual success of the projects. In this statement, she acknowledges that although the research approach is important and largely effective, it cannot always be the only method used. This is because the method is generally very subjective and not often statistical. Berardi stands by her claim, however, that Participatory Rural Appraisal is “good science” in that it is repeatable and dependable.
JACQUELYN SARATORE University of Wisconsin Madison (Larry Nesper).
Chacko, Tomy. Artisanal Fishing Along the Alleppey Coast, Southwest India. Human Organization Spring, 1998 Vol. 57(1): 60-63.
In this article, Tomy Chacko describes the economic situation of coastal Indians from Kerala, especially along the Alleppey Coast. Chacko attempts to deduce how these poor fishermen have adapted to the various problems that face a newly industrialized society. The Alleppey coast extends for 82 km, and houses about 14,200 fishermen. Traditionally, these fishermen used long hand-crafted wood boats called valloms to gather the abundant fish along the coast. In the past 10 years however, large mechanized trawlers have scoured much of the sea of fish, leaving little to the small fishing families and decreasing the amount of trade at local markets. The long boats used in this period cannot go further out into the open sea, forcing the local fishermen to utilize boats with outboard motors.
Chacko then discusses the adaptations that have been utilized by the fishermen of Alleppey. Many valloms have been fitted with motors and modern equipment, and new vallom forms have been developed to increase productivity. These include the muri vallom which consists of two long valloms with nets placed between the two sections. In addition, the fishermen have developed the valiya vallom, which consists of a large wooden boat with attached motor and long nets that can reach the sea floor. Chacko argues that these two innovations allowed the fishing communities to fish farther out and for longer periods of time, as well as operate in stormy or rough conditions. In addition, the fishermen justify the use of motors because they can bring fish to the market faster, guaranteeing freshness. This in turn creates a higher income for the fishermen. Despite these mechanical adaptations however, many fishermen rely on the old ways of fishing.
Chacko illustrates that many experienced fishermen feel that are too many negatives to owning and operating a motorized vessel. By surveying the fishermen who used motorboats, Chacko found that most of them had been fishing less than ten years. He found that after ten years, most fishermen went back to manually powered boats citing several reasons for making the switch. Motorized boats can cost at least 25,000 rupees to repair during the year; money that is not easily generated from fishing. In addition, one must factor in fuel costs and loan payments and other costs associated with motorized boats. Many of the elder fishermen also describe how the health of the population has also declined, for youths no longer get the exercise from pushing oars. This puts the population in a difficult situation though, for they cannot bring in large catches without resorting to motorized craft.
Chacko ends by illustrating the lack of support by the Indian government for these coastal fishermen. These people only know how to fish, and their lifestyle is being threatened by large corporations bent on mining the sea of important resources. Chacko suggests that the Indian government should end commissions for low volume fishermen, and to promote new scientific research for producing smaller and cheaper motorized equipment. In this manner, the people of Alleppey coast can continue to live their lifestyle without the burden of debt or the destruction of their way of life.
KRIS BURNITZ University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Chesterfield, Ray and Enge, Kjell. Gender, Cognitive Categorization, and Classroom Interaction Patterns of Guatemalan Teachers. Human Organization, 1998. Vol. 57 (1): 108-116.
In this article, Chesterfield and Enge immediately lay out the premise for their research, stating, “in countries such as Guatemala, where a large percentage of the female population does not attend school or drops out after first grade, female teachers are seen as providing greater opportunities for girls’ success in school” (108). Next, they provide background information, listing several numbers to illustrate Guatemala’s huge gender gap in respect to literacy and school enrollment. Additionally, they examine numerous reasons as to why females have had such difficulty receiving a good education. Finally, the authors get into the meat of their paper, describing a study they preformed to analyze Guatemalan teachers’ perceptions of their students.
They begin by describing their methodology in order to show how they controlled this experiment. First of all, they had the informants (teachers) create “free lists” of terms, meaning they generated unrestricted inventories of words used to describe or classify their students. Next, Chesterfield and Enge explain how they gathered their sample of teachers and then describe the tools that they used to collect the data in the classrooms. Lastly, the authors describe how they trained their fieldworkers and note several important characteristics about the settings (schools) where they conducted their research, specifically mentioning that all of the schools were located in poor, rural areas.
Finally, they analyze their data, supplementing the information with a number of statistical graphs and charts. Based on their research, the authors conclude “that rural teachers in general may see their students in a rather unfavorable light in their daily interactions in the classroom” (110). They also show that while the female teachers viewed the girls as most intelligent and the boys as most aggressive, male teachers associated both sexes equally with intelligence. Moreover, they did not see the boys as aggressive but rather as “know-it-alls.” By and large, the authors were surprised at how the terms reflected classroom behavior above academic performance.
Overall, Chesterfield and Enge discovered that girls interacted more with female teachers than males. They also found out that the female teachers overall tended to view their students in a more positive light than their male coworkers did. Thus, the authors concluded that yes, “The presence of female teachers can increase the interaction of girls in the classroom” (115) although they stressed that this is not the “cure-all” for educational inequality. In the end, they suggested that teachers hold small weekly meetings in order to discuss issues such as this so that they have a forum where solutions can be worked out.
All in all, this article is concise and clear. However, the reader will surely get the most out of it if he/she has a strong knowledge of statistics with which to analyze the charts and graphs. In the end though, Chesterfield and Enge do a good job of explaining each step in their project so that it is understandable even to those without a background in statistics.
REBECCA FLAX University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Cohen, Jeffrey H. Craft Production and the Challenge of the Global Market: An Artisans’ Cooperative in Oaxaca, Mexico. Human Organization Vol. 57, No. 1, 1998:74-82.
This article evaluates treadle loom textile production and market trends for two competing Zapotec-speaking communities; the more successful Teotitlan del Valle and the smaller Santa Ana del Valle industry. To attempt gain greater control over the export market, Santa Ana has created a community-based cooperative, with little success. There are several reasons for this. Teotitlan has a population of around 5,000, while Santa Ana’s population is around 3,000. Population is less a factor in the success of the Teotitlan textile export market as other factors. There are four factors that are central to Teotitlan’s control. First, Teotitlan dominates the local textile export market. Second, through contracts, they control access to the export market in both communities. Third, gallery owners in Teotitlan pay fees to local tourist agencies to bring potential buyers to their shops. Finally, there has been a slow decline in the textile market since the 1970s.
To combat the dominance exerted by Teotitlan industry leaders, the residents of Santa Ana established a weaving cooperative in 1987. With government funding, the cooperative had two goals; to begin an export market for woolen textiles and to bring foreign exporters directly to the village to undermine Teotitlan’s monopoly. This article focuses on two factors in the success of cooperative strategies in the marketplace; first, the control of access to market knowledge and, second, the position of the cooperative in market networks.
Teotitleco market knowledge is controlled by merchants, independent producers, and pieceworkers. The merchants control the flow of knowledge and style changes to foreign business persons. Buyers dictate designs and color schemes, often coming to Teotitlan to oversee production. Independent production in Teotitlan is based around the household membership, and has deep roots to kinship ties and friendships. In this way, the market has deeper roots than that of the Santa Ana cooperative, which further strains the flow of market knowledge. Pieceworkers are given raw materials by merchants and independent producers, and paid a wage for weaving. In this way, there is little chance for economic growth for pieceworkers to move into the upper two tiers, further exerting control of market knowledge and economic dominance.
The Santa Ana cooperative’s marginal position in the market network is the result of the push and pull of inner struggles. The united feel of the cooperative has allowed for governmental funding and an illusion of collective goodwill which has maintained a place for Santa Ana in the local market, in opposition of Teotitlan’s pressure. However, the cooperative’s tactics are undermined by members’ division of wealth and connections of certain textile industry locals with greater ties to the Teotitlan market. This has created jealousy and mistrust within the framework of the cooperative.
The success, or lack thereof, in regards to Santa Ana’s weaving industry is much a product of market knowledge control exerted by Teotitlan industry participants that are deeply rooted in the culture of the community that has been growing for generations. The cooperative effort by Santa Ana’s residents to gain a foothold in the market both sustains the grasp they have and keeps it marginalized due to interior struggle. If these local problems are ignored, the industry will continue to be plagued by only marginal export market involvement.
CHRIS COON. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper).
Everett, Margaret. Latin America On-Line: The Internet, Development, and Democratization. Human Organization, 1998. Vol. 57(4): 385-393.
Email, the Internet and computers have revolutionized industry, politics and the everyday lives of millions of people around the world. It has become such a common place for so many people, that many can’t remember living without it. But what about underdeveloped or economically challenged countries that haven’t kept up with this whirlwind of technological change? In her article, Margaret Everett brings up the current and problematic issues associated with this change and the role of the World Wide Web in Latin America.
Being that in that in less than a decade the use of computers and the Internet has grown to unbelievable proportions is not surprising considering it’s ease of use and that it has created accessibility to millions of different topics from around the world. Unfortunately, Everett argues, areas such as Latin America haven’t been able to keep pace with the rest of the world and this has caused rifts between countries and people. The landscape, social status, and politics are only a few of the roadblocks that technology pioneers face when trying to bring these areas up to date. Everett states that, “the consensus seems to be that technological change is critical to economic growth as well as democratization.” And yes, in all Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil there are Internet connections and the number of host computers doubles every 12-15 months, but this is only a stepping-stone for what needs to come.
Everett suggests research conducted in Latin America could assess the issues facing this technological change and upgrade to compete with world markets and also see which areas are in the most need. She states that, “access to the internet might be enhanced by free community networks and terminals in community centers, schools, and churches.” This would help alleviate the problem the economy and personal wealth play in many individuals lack of a computer or other opportunities. Uncensored information is another problem for many countries with political instability, but Everett shows that with this information comes a new insight for many people into the outside world. In her last comment she says that technology can’t change every issue plaguing these countries, but it can begin to narrow the “existing inequlities.” But a lot has to be done politically, socially and economically in this area before major technological change can happen.
STEPHANIE ROBERTS University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Gordon, John L. The Resurgence of Applied Anthropology in a Post- Exotic World: An Australian Perspective. Human Organization, Fall 1998 Vol.57(2):127-132.
John Gordon addresses the topic of applied anthropology research in the field of industry in this article. Gordon uses several different types of evidence to support his argument that applied anthropology can once again have important uses after a period of decline. He focuses on this area of anthropology because he argues that the changing economic and global cultural conditions have permanently altered the ability of people to do “exotic” fieldwork. He discusses the history of fieldwork in anthropology as part of this argument, examining periods when many did their fieldwork abroad, and other periods when people did research closer to home. He argues that external political factors often affected this tendency. He states that the period before World War II encouraged American anthropologists to study their native country, while after World War II, their new position as a world leader encouraged them to study abroad. More recently, budget cuts in government funding for such endeavors has once again encouraged studies of the United States.
He begins by using a biography of, Elton Mayo, a native Australian who became a professor in the United States. He made groundbreaking discoveries concerning the social interactions between labors in various factories in the 1920s while doing fieldwork in American factories. Gordon then goes on to discuss the changing patterns in research due to the United States being a world leader. He claims that researching at home can be a beneficial alternative when faced with government budget cuts. He also points out that changes in the global situation has made it much harder to find authentically native people not changed by western influence. He concludes by stating that in today’s global economy, the understanding of cross-cultural implications in business are invaluable. This is the kind of training that should be offered by colleges to future anthropologists.
The article’s evidence is very clear, however, some of the conclusions Gordon draws can be confusing. The historical evidence and analysis of the present situation of anthropology was convincing. However, his conclusion that college anthropology departments should focus on training for global studies could have used a more understandable explanation of the roles that anthropologists play in this transition.
JENNIFER GULIG University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Handwerker, W. Penn. Why Violence? A Test of Hypotheses Representing Three Discourses on the Roots of Domestic Violence. Human Organization, 1998. Vol. 57: 200-207.
In “Why Violence?…” Handwerker tests three hypotheses that explain domestic violence against women by their partners. Handwerker begins with statistics on the consequences of domestic violence. For example, women who experience violence have greater risks of arthritis, hypertension and heart disease, and their children have a greater likelihood to experience physical, emotional and sexual violence.
Handwerker first focuses on the “rotten man” hypothesis, which explains violence against women as the result of cognitive and emotional states in men that are conditioned by life experiences, along with the genotypes and social learning that are reflected by these and encoded during childhood, and labels men either “good” or “bad.” He then describes a second hypothesis centering on social circumstances. This hypothesis states that violence comes out of situations that produce stress, threat or frustration. Finally, he points to the possibility of a hypothesis focusing on social relationships as an explanation for violence. In this hypothesis, power inequalities are the cause of violence, and power equalities actually produce good behavior from women’s partners.
In testing these three hypotheses, Handwerker looks to populations of the West Indian islands, specifically Antigua and Barbados, as recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. Both islands experienced large structural transformations in their economies. In these societies, women are an “underclass” and have little economic power, and therefore are subordinate and dependent on men. These men act as gatekeepers to power and resources. Often physical and emotional abuse, as well as homicides, arise from this structure when the women did not meet the mens’ wishes.
Handwerker measured the levels of violence on a scale of 0 to 24 and affection on a scale of 0 to 32, based on behavior, such as “slap or hit you to hurt or punish” or “talked with you and respected what you said.” He also measured poverty, social class and status differences between women and their partners, and women’s power relative to that of men.
Handwerker found that the likeliness of an affectionate relationship is low for women with violent partners, and that the likeliness of a violent relationship is low for women in affectionate relationships. He also found that threat, stress or frustration did not explain violence, nor did it explain levels of affection. In his analysis of the results and the three hypotheses, he found that women in relationships with “good” men in the context of power equalities had the least risk of experiencing violence, but not, Handwerker notes, a 0 percent chance. Any power inequalities that are added to such a relationship increase a woman’s risk of violence. Women whose partners are “bad” or rotten men have an increased risk of violence, and those with rotten men and power inequalities within the relationship have to highest chance of experiencing a violent relationship. Thus, Handwerker says, increasing power equalities produces more affection, even from violent men, and increasing inequalities results in a greater chance for a violent relationship, even from affectionate partners. Handwerker effectively finds the social relationships hypothesis to be the most relevant.
Finally, Handwerker suggests solutions to the problem and tragedy of domestic violence against women based on his findings. For example, we should rid ourselves of the assumption that violence is the result of stress, and we should accept and use the idea that violence is related to neurotransmitter levels and neurological conditions, but not genetics.
JESSICA JONES University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Harthorn, Barbara Herr. California Farmworkers: Dilemmas in Developing Interventions for Health and Medical Care Concerns Human Organization, Vol. 57, No. 3, 1998
In this rather wordy and cryptic article, Barbara Herr Harthorn attempts to address the possible modes of intervention in researching the health and medical concerns of California farmworkers, and the problems associated with each type of intervention. The article uses data from a 1995-97 study of 32 workers from Santa Barbara County, California.
Harthorn begins by defining the act of intervention in relation to the work of a medical anthropologist as “intervening between a cause and a hypothesized effect or a known effect and a hypothesized cause.” She states the purpose of such research as being to isolate causes and enhance knowledge about the process, and the main problem of such research in its general disregard for the potential social changes produced. She admits that this kind of thinking is antithetical to the way anthropologists were used to thinking about research.
She continues by presenting the three most prevalent health issues for farm workers in California: susceptibility to tuberculosis, exposure to agricultural chemicals and pesticides, and maternal and newborn health.
She cites the high rates of tuberculosis among ethnic minorities and children due to poverty, poor nutrition and living conditions, and the widespread lack of knowledge of the disease and its treatment among the farm working community specifically. She identifies TB as a likely site for intervention as it poses a recognized threat to the general population and is treatable if pursued.
The second health issue, chemical exposure due to pesticide use in agriculture has a more far-reaching impact on not only the workers, but the consumers of agricultural goods as well, and thus presents itself as an attractive subject of intervention research. Problems include the relative lack of awareness of specific risks from exposure, grower opposition to the research, and political resistance to intervention within agriculture.
Finally, maternal and child health issues seem to not be as receptive to intervention studies as the others, due to institutional racism in California and the general lack of concern among the workers themselves.
Harthorn concludes by laying out several levels of intervention that can be implemented at global, state, local, or corporate levels. Such scales include the intervention geared toward individual workers for the short term, community-based self-education programs through development organizations, and at the highest level the entire agricultural industry effecting long-term conditions and policies. Finally, she addresses the road-blocks to such ventures such as lack of incentive to change by growers, lack of access to medical, and labor resources within farm worker communities and the expendability of the farm worker due to a nearly endless supply of cheap labor from Mexico. She states that such actions are beyond the expertise of the typical anthropologist, and that knowledge of mass communication and the media along with collaboration with experts within the private sector will be necessary if such interventionist ventures are to be pursued.
TRAVIS REINKE University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Johnson, G. David, Cecelia Formichella, J. Stephen Thomas, Dulal Bhaumik, Frank Verlion Degruy, III, and Catherine A. Riordan. Stress and Distress among Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fisherman. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57(4): 404-413
This article focuses on the shrimp fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico region. Johnson et al. state that although this industry is a large part of this region’s economy, it has suffered substantial hardships in recent years. The authors describe the difficult work environment shrimp fishers experience under optimal conditions, noting that recent pressures from increased international competition, governmental regulations that increase costs, and interest groups have made the shrimp fishing industry a less profitable one. The authors state that this has affected both workers’ ability to control economic circumstances, and their independence and control over the work environment. In light of this situation, Johnson et al. attempt to measure the presence of a diagnosable mental disorder in shrimp fishers, and its relationship with stress exposure, satisfaction with the work environment, and psychological sense of mastery.
The authors hypothesize that increased job stressor exposure, decreased job satisfaction, and a decreased sense of mastery will correlate with higher occurrences of diagnosable psychological distress. This hypothesis fits with the social stress model, in which environmental stressors are seen as causes of psychological distress and physical illness.
To test this hypothesis, the authors selected 34 ports based on total shrimp landings between 1991 and 1993. At each selected port, shrimp boat captains were selected for study using the “dockside intercept technique,” in which the person is approached while returning to shore from a fishing trip. A total of 567 captains were interviewed for the study, composed of off-shore and inshore fisherman. The desired measurements were obtained by direct survey of the selected fishermen. Roughly 14 questions were asked of each participant; answers were provided in the form of a rating on a scale of one to five, or with a short answer.
The authors then proceeded with bivariate statistical analyses of the collected data to determine the correlation between measured variables. The relationships between these variables were then compared to two control groups. One control group was a national study of American adults, and one was a study of 1000 primary care patients.
The results of the study correlated with the hypothesis. The evidence reported that as the measured environmental stressors increased in intensity, and as feelings of control over one’s life decreased, incidences of measurable psychological distress increased. The findings state that these fishermen experienced psychological disorders at twice the rate of the general male population. This increase is most likely seen in mood and anxiety disorders rather than alcohol abuse. Johnson et al. infer that this is possibly a result of the fishermen surveyed, and that alcohol problems would be higher in fishermen currently on land and those who had left the industry. The authors conclude that the fishermen at highest risk for developing a disorder are those with a decreased sense of mastery, and that current regulatory and economic pressures are likely sources of a decreased sense of mastery.
BRIAN ROLNICK University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Kendall, Carl. The Role of Formal Qualitative Research in Negotiating Community Acceptance: The Case of Dengue Control in El Progreso, Honduras. Human Organization 1998 Vol:57 no.2:217-221.
In this article, the author discusses a program aimed at controlling mosquitoes, especially those carrying the dengue bacteria, in the city of El Progreso, Honduras. He describes in some detail ways in which the program worked to raise community awareness of the insects, including educating locals on pest control methods. Rather than just making recommendations based on current medical knowledge, the project also took into account the local beliefs about dengue. This local information was gathered through an in-depth series of surveys and interviews, and then combined with the medical knowledge of dengue to design a program that effectively reduced the population of dengue-carrying mosquitoes while still being sensitive to the local culture.
This combination of local and medical knowledge about insects and illness led to a demonstrable drop in insect densities, without anything more than surveys and public awareness efforts. It is the only such project to have shown success using “only words”. The author does note, however, that this success was not replicated in following years, although the locals had gotten the message. He suggests problems with the organization and leadership within the program itself as factors that may have decreased its effectiveness.
The author also places this program in the larger context of medical anthropology. One criticism of medical anthropology is that much of it had been done without allowing a lot of time for research. Instead, research efforts were aimed at quickly identifying local beliefs about illness and then correcting them with education based on modern medical knowledge. This approach assumes that beliefs can be separated from their cultural context, without affecting the culture in general. This is another major criticism of the author and many of his colleagues. Instead, Kendall advocates longer and more in depth studies which can take the local culture into consideration, like that of this project.
He also argues that applied anthropology in general is not an oxymoron. In other words, he believes that it is possible to conduct ethnographic research with a specific interventionist agenda, and that this is not bad science. This follows from the idea that the ethnographer is not so much a recorder of culture as a negotiator or interpreter of it, and thus that intervention is not always wrong, as in the case of controlling disease.
In general, this article is a well-written example of how anthropology can provide immediate and practical improvements in the lives of others.
LYNNETTE KLEINSASSER University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Kruse, Jack; Klein, David; Braund, Steve; Moorehead, Lisa; and Simeone, Bill. Co-management of Natural Resources: A Comparison of Two Caribou Management Systems. Human Organization, 1998 Vol. 57(4): 447-459.
This article addresses the effects of caribou management systems on the herd fluctuations of North American caribou. The authors compare two such systems in Alaska and Canada. They examine whether involvement by caribou hunters at the village level results in increased overall effectiveness of the management.
The authors’ comparison indicates that under a joint management board, government managers are more sensitive and responsive to user concerns, but that direct user involvement in a joint management board does not increase the likelihood that village-level users will cooperate with management actions.
The study compares the State of Alaska’s system for the Western Arctic Caribou Herd to the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board in Canada, the latter being an example of a user-participatory co-management system. The authors compare management effectiveness between the two by assessing knowledge of the existence of the management system, agreement on acceptability of herd monitoring practices, shared belief and perceptions on caribou population changes, perceptions of communication between caribou users and the management boards, and expectations for cooperation of users with management decisions. They conducted a census of government managers and surveyed approximately 200 traditional caribou users in both locations. The article includes 15 graphs displaying manager and user responses as well as a number of citations from formal interviews. In support of the authors’ basic argument, these graphs and personal interviews demonstrate that considerably more Canadian users knew of the existence of the management system, knew that traditional users were on the board, and felt that the board would consult users before setting harvest quotas. In support of the second part of the authors’ assertion, results indicate that a higher proportion of the Alaskan traditional users, not users of the Canadian joint management board, expect that they would cooperate with management in terms of hunting restrictions or other herd-stabilizing actions.
PARTHY SCHACHTER University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Lackey, Jill Florence, and D. Paul Moberg. Understanding the Onset of Intercourse among Urban American Adolescents: A Cultural Process Framework Using Qualitative and Quantitative Data. Human Organization Winter, 1998. Vol. 57 (4): 491-501.
The main idea addressed in this paper is the great impact that culture has on teen sexuality and decision-making. More specifically, the authors investigate the design and effectiveness of programs to educate and positively influence teens about sexual activity and the decisions involved. It is pointed out that often is the case where just one aspect of the culture is addressed when such programs are designed and implemented, but that the programs would actually be much more effective if more aspects of culture are incorporated thus using a more “holistic” approach. The argument is supported by both numerical data obtained using surveys and testimonials obtained during focus groups. Numerical data is presented in tabular form, and the testimonials are presented using quotes from the focus group conversations. Much time is spent describing the method of the study in great detail that does present logical and legitimate support of the thesis.
The authors explain that culture is continually changing, and one result of these changes is subcultures. They go on to say that these subcultures are often deviants of the norms of the culture and are due to the lack of opportunity afforded the individuals involved. The study was conducted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin because this city has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. The concern is not only with this fact, but also the risks associated with sexually transmitted diseases. The causes of the sexual practices of the teens in this city are investigated and found to be greatly due to cultural factors, primarily popular music and that many of these teens don’t have the opportunity to focus their efforts in more constructive manners. Many solutions to this problem are proposed in the conclusion and supported by the proceeding paragraphs.
MIRANDA WARREN University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Lovell, Anne M. and Cohn, Sandra. The Elaboration of “Choice” in a Program for Homeless Persons Labeled Psychiatrically Disabled. Human Organization, 1998 Vol.57(1):8-21
This article examined a program, run in New York City that sought to provide rehabilitation and treatment to homeless persons that were considered mentally ill. Approximately one-third of homeless persons are thought to fit this label, and most of these people often refuse to seek treatment, even when options for such treatment exist. Traditional methods of treatment were medically based, and very tightly controlled. This new program sought to provide unlimited “choice” to the group of people targeted to receive treatment and counseling. The program interviewed many homeless people and considered only those that were diagnosed as mentally ill, for treatment in this program.
The program center was set up to provide a location the participants could come for food, shelter, clothing, and counseling. This environment was one with “no strings attached”, the participants could come and go as they pleased, utilizing the center’s resources as they saw fit. In most shelter programs there is an underlying cause the shelter is trying to force onto the participants, either expecting something in return, or pushing a religious message. This new center opted to be different, in the hopes that the lack of a “message”, and allowing the participants to make choices for themselves would lead to an increased commitment to the various counseling and treatment programs the center had to offer.
This program also sought to secure apartments for the participants and jobs so the participants could help defer living expenses. One item the program overlooked was the fact that in addition to mental illness many of the participants were also abusers of drugs and alcohol. When given the opportunity, the lure of getting high was often too great for the participants, and the apartments turned into drug-dens and locations where drug transactions could take place. In some instances, the participants sold their furniture, and even robbed the treatment center to get money for their illicit activities.
The consequences of unlimited choice proved too great to ignore. In time the center had to impose many rules on the participants for their own and the participant’s safety. The program was trying to instill a feeling of self-reliance upon the participants, this worked for a time, until the total lack of oversight led to a lack of social obligation to mainstream society by the participants. In the end the center had to respond by limiting choice to preserve society’s moral code.
ADAM WEISSE University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Lovell, Anne M., and Cohn, Sandra. The Elaboration of “Choice” in a Program for Homeless Persons Labeled Psychiatrically Disabled. Applied Anthropology:Problems of Human Organization 1998 Vol.57(1):8 18.
In this article Lovell and Cohn discuss the consequences and the degree to which “choice” (empowerment) is instilled into a new experimental rehabilitation program for the psychiatrically disabled homeless. The individuals are more involved with their program, especially in the need for independent housing. They begin by stating that more traditional rehabilitation programs for the homeless involved a “medical model” where the individual afflicted is handed over to an expert with a powerful authority. The new experimental treatment hands over a portion of the authority to the individual and is centered on the idea of “client choice.” The goal of this experiment was to stress the ability of persons with mental illness to learn new skills and behaviors, to develop their potential, and to make decisions regarding their own lives. After having done ethnographic fieldwork at a center in New York, Lovell and Cohn attempt to show how instilling the concepts of empowerment and choice failed for both the homeless and the Center staff and how choice conflicted with the larger community to recreate moral codes within the Center’s community. Using case studies from their fieldwork, the authors illustrate how the new sense of empowerment led many members of the Center to revert to their former lifestyles of drugs and prostitution resulting in a loss of capital for the Center. Also, with the shortage of low cost housing the rehabilitation specialists were forced to make choices for the Center’s members and to consider specialized housing where the private owners have strict criteria for psychiatrically ill tenants. The newfound individualism also led to a lack of communal respect within the Center. Nevertheless this led to a stricter set of rules devised by both staff and members regarding the sharing of community space.
MICHAEL BALISTRERI University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Lyon-Callo, Vincent. Constraining Responses to Homelessness: An Ethnographic Exploration of the Impact of Funding Concerns on Resistance. Human Organization Spring 1998 Vol.57(1):1-7.
Homelessness is a growing problem in the United States. Lyon-Callo questions the cause of homelessness in his article. Shelters habitually take people in and attempt to treat their physical and psychological ailments, while trying to make them fit in for social interactions with the rest of the populous. Most people think that these mental and physical aberrations are the causes for the person’s homelessness. However, most of the people in the shelter are actually employed. They are no less fit than any other person in society, but they do not have enough income to obtain housing. Lyon-Callo proposes that the large gap between the income of the rich and the poor is the reason for increased homelessness. In Massachusetts where he studied, affordable housing had a waiting list for an average of 39 months. Most people in the shelter did not make enough money to pay for a single room apartment. The people in the shelter were intelligent and hard working, but they were at a disadvantage with the wage they earned. When the shelter tried to lobby for wage increases, it lost funding. Most of the organizations that donated money to the shelter donated with specific requests that the money be used for making the homeless socially acceptable, or at least less noticeable. Obviously, this only perpetuates the homelessness problem. When Lyon-Callo suggested that the shelter workers begin to lobby for affordable housing and above-poverty level wages, the staff was supportive. However, when the staff tried to acquire housing, even tents, for the homeless, the media twisted the effort, saying that the shelter was creating a tent city in the area. This angered donors, who threatened to stop funding if this effort was not immediately ended. The workers, scared to lose their own jobs, did what they were told and went back to the strategy of making the homeless more pleasant to the middle class. Lyon-Callo points out that in order to get better wages and more affordable housing, the ideology of the people higher in management has to be changed. If they continue to see the homelessness problem as the result of physical and psychological imperfections, they will continue to only treat the people. If they think of homelessness as a social problem stemming from the lack of affordable housing and poverty level wage structuring, they will treat the problem by working on housing and wages. Lyon-Callo says anthropologists need to study high level management personnel in order to fix the problem of homelessness in the United States. If you cannot communicate with those that have the money, you will never be able to convince them to part with it.
JENNIFER WEIS University of Wisconsin- Madison (Larry Nesper).
Lyon-Callo, Vincent. Constraining Responses to Homelessness: An Ethnographic Exploration of the Impact of Funding concerns on Resistance Human Organization , 1998 Vol.57(1):1-7.
This article is about the issue of homelessness in the United States. The author Vincent Lyon-Callo looks at several things before, during, and after he did his research. One of the questions, which he attempted to answer and did answer, was what the ethnographer’s job is when it comes to research and study. He says that they are supposed to, if studying a problem, be involved and looking for solutions, which have not yet been tried or thought of. He says that the current trend for treating homelessness is to treat it like a disease. This disease can be treated with job training, therapy, and substance abuse counseling. The feeling is that these are what cause homelessness. Lyon-Callo feels that the problem lies within the institutions and within the belief structure of the problem. He feels that the programs need to be looked at and that the problem is not job training, but in financing and funding.
The author did his research in homeless shelters in Northampton Massachusetts. He volunteered as a staff member, and he talked with staff members and homeless individuals. As he was working with these individual he found that active participation was the best way to do his research. He also felt that it was his responsibility to help and get fully involved. He helped them set up programs and commitees to look at new ways of solving homelessness. Through this, he found out even more about the structure of dealing with homelessness and the barriers that are set in place.
This article details the group’s efforts to change the structure of the shelter system and the problems that they faced in there attempt. It give a good analysis of the reasons behind certain barriers and truly makes the reader think about one’s own biases and preconceived notions about homelessness and how it should be dealt with.
ANNA ALBERT University of Wisconsin-Madison (Professor Larry Nesper).
Manderson, Lenore, Wilson, Ruth P. Negotiating with Communities: The Politics and Ethics of Research. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57(2):215-216.
In this short article, Manderson and Wilson discuss the ethics of the work conducted by anthropological scientists and local communities. In the process of doing field research, anthropologists must be sensitive to different moral and political dilemmas that surface at all levels. Each situation is a unique case, changing within different groups of people as well as over time. These relationships may even require renegotiation as community members seek to benefit from the fieldwork being conducted on their culture.
Manderson and Wilson then summarize articles on the relationships between anthropologists and research communities presented originally at the Society for Applied Anthropology annual meeting. These articles provide examples of how individual researchers responded to the cases they encountered. Kendall et al. discussed how dengue control in El Progreso, Honduras was accomplished through qualitative research and community participation. Negotiations by Manderson focused on the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health and righted the tarnished view these people had formed from previous frustrating researcher encounters. O’Neil, Reading, and Leader spoke with Canadian indigenous people about their concerns on health issues and misuse of research information. By speaking with incarcerated Canadian Native Americans, Waldram faced many ethical dilemmas in overseeing interactions between these people and the government. Wilson used her short-term work on health in Africa to question power relationships with consultants and anthropological scientists.
The articles reviewed here all support the view that ideologies in research must be sensitive to the politics, government policies, communities, and institutions in which the anthropologist works. Through an understanding of heightened ethical guidelines, applied anthropologists can be more sensitive to the needs of those they are studying. Manderson and Wilson clearly stress this viewpoint throughout their summaries, and clearly believe in this creed.
SHAINA KLEIN University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Manderson, Lenore, Kelaher, Margaret, Williams, Gail, Shannon, Cindy. The Politics of Community: Negotiation and Consultation in Research on Women’s Health. Human Organization 1998 Vol.57(2):222-229.
This article describes the process that the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health followed as it began its initial stage of research. The researchers began by defining the groups of women who would likely be underrepresented in a large study and then decided to target these groups with community-involved research. The two main groups chosen were Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and non-English speaking communities of immigrant women from the Philippines, Bosnia, or Herzegovina.
After choosing these target groups of study, they began a difficult process of consultation and recruitment of women willing to participate in these groups. The difficulties that they encountered during consultation are explained in detail in the article.
Research on the Aborigines has a history of not benefiting the community in any way. Therefore, these people are reluctant to let researchers work within their groups if they do not see an immediate benefit. Many examples are given in the article about the long process of consultation with these groups and the difficulty they had in convincing them that they would benefit from such encounters.
With the Filipino women, consultations were straightforward because the researchers had a stronger base with leaders in this community. The process involved community discussions, focus groups, and meetings that provided these women with the opportunity to contribute ideas that they felt were important to consider in this study.
Overall, the article describes the difficulties encountered in preparing to do research beginning with ethical issues that come up because of bad histories of research with groups, then moving on to discuss issues of the definition of community. Finally, the consultation process itself is explained and all of the difficulties encountered with these communities in obtaining their consent are put forth in detail. The examples clearly show the reader how difficult this process is, and how each community reacts to it differently.
The authors discuss their research process with insight into the difficulties they encountered and with great sensitivity to the people with which they were working. They bring to light many issues that all researchers should keep in mind when approaching a community for study such as considering the benefits for the community itself, and working with people who are in full consent of the project.
ELENA KOUNESKI University of Wisconsin, Madison (Larry Nesper)
McCay, Bonnie and Jentoft, Svein. Market or Community Failure? Critical Perspectives on Common Property Research. Human Organization, 1998 Vol. 57:21-27.
The article addresses capitalism and the problems associated with its failures as an economic system. The methods used to explore the failures of capitalisms are viewed from the prospective of liberal economics. Two main downfalls of capitalism, held by many social scientists are discussed as well as the criticisms each receives, and the authors offer what they believe to be a better way of viewing the behavior that lead to capitalism’s downfall.
Bonnie McCay and Svein Jentoft begin their article by stating that the behavior of the community is responsible for the failure of communism and is also attributed to many social and environmental problems. The “Tragedy of the Commons” is the first and foremost critic of communism. This idea holds that the community is made up of and behaves as individuals. It entails citizens being rewarded for acting altruistically and for the good of the group, but they also get rewarded for acting opportunistically and exhibiting free riding behavior. This critique points to common property, or the lack of private property as a main culprit. The second critique is at the opposite end of the spectrum. This is the “thin” argument and it takes the standpoint of anti-reductionism. It entails that the community works as an integrated whole, and this group is fundamentally moral.
The authors proceed by going more in-depth about what it means to be acting as an individual and the consequences of such actions. McCay and Jentoft begin their argument for a different view of the downfall of communism by explaining the fundamental flaws in the “Tragedy of the Commons” and the “thin” anti-reductionist arguments. They argue that both criticisms are too abstract and generalized to each extreme. For example, the “tragedy of the Commons” requires a simple, small-scale self-governed populace in order to be successful. If the community grows too large, the system will be taken advantage of and people will act in their own interests. Also, the definition of common property has changed from having free use of common property to one of not having any property, and being unable to exclude others from “government or state owned property.“ The point is made that government or state steps in in an effort to keep the individual from acting self-opportunistically. The “Thi n” argument is problematic because it generalizes and presumes interactions will be based on rational action and the importance of culture and community, this narrows the motivation of individuals. McCay and Jentoft suggest a mid-range theory called “thick” which entails a more ethnographic and complex view on human end environmental relations. The authors bring into discussion the concept of embeddedness, which is how community and culture interact and are contained within economics and vice versa. In the “thick” approach, the importance of both individual and community are realized, but does not attribute either as completely embedded within economics or social context. The authors conclude with the notion that in order to understand the economic failure of capitalism, the factors behind community and government behavior, as well as how they interact are necessary and deserve more study.
KARI WITTLIEFF University of Wisconsin (Larry Nesper).
McCay, Bonnie J., Svein Jentoft. Market or Community Failure? Critical Perspectives on Common Property Research. Human Organization 1998 Vol. 57(1): 21-29.
Analyzing the “tragedy of the commons”, the failure of workers in capitalist markets, McCay and Jentoft discuss the collapse of markets from an ethnographic perspective by considering the community surrounding such markets. They continue the discussion of failed capitalist markets started by William Foster Lloyd and Garrett Hardin.
First, McCay and Jentoft define what is meant by “common property”. The community’s relationship to such “common property” and how they are to manage it becomes part of the social definition of “common property”. Individual responsibilities, ethics, and sense of competition do not combine just as a sum of individuals, but rather as the community which then affects each individual.
McCay and Jentoft argue that comparisons between successful and unsuccessful attempts of community property management are a “thin” way to analyze the problem, meaning theories used to differentiate the two are generalized and overanalyzed. Instead, they propose a “thick” way to analyze the idea of “tragedy of the commons”. They question the use of theory and emphasize the importance of the interaction between humans and the environment, culture, and history.
They emphasize the understanding of embeddedness. Economies are embedded within greater social systems that can shape the economy in different ways. Social interactions, symbols, values, and individual roles affect the way an economy functions. Thus, McCay and Jentoft argue that “community failure”, meaning the breakdown of social bonds and responsibility towards resources, causes “market failure”.
Then, the authors question why some communities succeed and others do not. Governmental and state intervention is considered as a way failure can either be prevented or caused. External and global markets affect local markets as well. In this article, McCay and Jentoft examine local markets from a more global and external perspective.
CATHERINE BECK University of Wisconsin (Larry Nesper)
Medicine, Bea. American Indians and Anthropologists: Issues of History, Empowerment, and Application. Human Organization (1998) Vol.57, No. 3: 253-257.
In this article, originally presented as the Bronislaw Malinowski Award lecture at the 1996 Society for Applied Anthropology annual meeting, the author attempts to describe relations between anthropologists and natives of North America. Bea Medicine is a Lakota anthropologist who has written about her experiences in “Learning to be an Anthropologist and Remaining Native (1978). Applying anthropological analysis to everyday life has been the directive of her research.
In her article, Medicine has chosen to discuss the interface of American Indians and anthropologists and to assess the thrust of these anthropologists into their lives through personal experience and literature reviews. At the time this article is written, she counts 86 “native” anthropologists with advanced degrees. She reviews works that are by “native” anthropologists working with “natives” and the work of “non-native” anthropologists working with informants. The anthropologist as an “officious meddler” is still the viewpoint in reservation and urban Indian communities. The author stresses the need to update the history of applied anthropology in “native” US and “aboriginal” Canadian contexts. Fallout from earlier works by Vine Deloria against anthropologists left native anthropologists in a triple bind – being both “native” and anthropologists, and having one voice for the diverse cultures of “Indian Country”. Many native professionals criticize anthropologists but use the results of their research in classes they teach.
The author discusses the role that some native peoples see, in themselves, as “amateur anthropologists” to maintain the cultural integrity of indigenous life-styles and as a knowledge base for history and events. Medicine writes of anthropological research as empowering people, especially “people of color” through teaching and researching issues of race, class, gender, and power relations. She also stresses the need to do more participatory research and not use native peoples as consultants, but as co-investigators to teach research techniques and stimulate their own desires to assess and improve the quality of life in their communities.
Native expectation is that the finished research product will be shown to them. How many people both on and off the reservation read the reports when provided? Some researchers have insisted their work be reviewed by the people studied. Incorporating the ideas generated through discussion could be better acknowledged in their writings. The author still reports of her research to her elderly kin for criticism.
In closing, the author quotes Irving Hallowell, “…the impact of the Indian on modern anthropology should not be omitted…it was the study of the Indians, and the problems that emerged from the investigation of the Indian as a subject, that gave American anthropology a distinctive coloring…”(1957)
KAREN LEDERER University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Miller, Cynthia J. The Social Impacts of Televised Media among the Yucatec Maya. Human Organization, 1998 Vol. 57(3): 307-314
In this article, Cynthia Miller explores the impacts of television and mass media on a Yucatec Mayan community, the Yalcoba. Her methodology consisted of conducting a survey out of a field of 300 households, and getting a total of 200 households. She requested essential demographic, economic, occupational and media-related information.
In the beginning of the article, Miller talks about the Yalcoba community. She says that the tourist industry has had a considerable impact on the community. It has influence the Yalcoba by bring clothing, language and systems of urban environment including televised media. This helped to bring about the cultural change in the community.
In the survey that Miller conducted, she found the Yucatec Mayans to have traditional gender roles in which the men go to work and women stay home to do housework and childcare. The men’s occupations were found to be among six categories: Campesino or yeoman farmer, Construction, Merchant, Tradesman, Taxi Driver, or Unemployed. (The Construction worker making the most at 873.50 new pesos).
Miller found that of the 200 households that were surveyed, 148 homes owned at least one television, 15 homes owned more than one, and over half of the total families surveyed owned color televisions. The average cost of a new or used television would exceed the monthly expenses of the average household income. Yet Miller found a very high number of households with televisions which means that many in the community are watching TV. The survey that Miller conducted also showed that the popular programs among adults and children are the telenovelas which are similar to the American soap operas. These programs portray Western European, urban, wealthy characters. Many of the community viewed these characters as what they thought typical of “city people”, being more fortunate and intelligent than themselves.
Miller then goes on about her discussion of these telenovela characters with the Yalcoba and observed some interesting remarks. When talking with a middle-aged man, he told her that the women portrayed in the telenovelas were nothing like the Yucatecos and if they were, there would be no respect for them. But on the contrary, when conversing with a nine-year old boy, he said that he learns what women want and how to interact with them. The women’s views on the other hand are a little shifted because of their lack of speaking Spanish. Many rely on other women who are bilingual or rely on their children for interpretations. But none the less, they like to watch because they enjoy seeing the nice things that the characters have, which are not in the community and the men are handsome and “speak with their eyes”, unlike the Yalcoba men. Although the women seem to admire these characters and their situations, 90% of the women said that they were happy in their communities, but many would want this lifestyle for their daughters. With the community taking a significant proportion of their time watching television, especially women, the men find them to be lazy and neglecting their household chores. This is because while the men are away at their occupations, women are attending to their duties at home, allowing for more time to watch TV. This viewing has increased women’s participation in the cash economy in addition to women challenging their gender roles. The young are shaped by television viewing by becoming more vulnerable to a new culture, thus wanting and seeking more for themselves outside of their community. The members of the village feel that these young are the epitome of values being lost and the shifting away of the lifestyle that they value.
With Miller’s surveys and interaction within the community, her argument that the televised media has had a significant impact on the Yucatec Mayans is well supported in this article.
MALIA PATTERSON University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Mills, Barbara J. & Ferguson, T.J. Preservation and Research of Sacred Sites by the Zuni Indian Tribe of New Mexico. Human Organization, 1998 Vol.57 (1): 30-40.
Barbara J. Mills and T.J. Ferguson researched the Zuni Indians of New Mexico and discuss, in this article, how the tribe has actively pursued protection of their sacred sites from federal projects. They assert the importance of the ceremonial life of the Zuni Indians, and discuss two main research and management strategies the Zuni have used to protect these sacred sites that are so significant to them. Throughout their discussion, they analyze and identify some issues that are still unresolved within the Zuni Tribe, as well as cover how the historic preservation process works, and show how they use this to protect sacred sites. They also discuss several cases that were successful, and finally, summarize the benefits of each of these strategies.
Mills and Ferguson’s main concern is to show the progression and successes of this particular tribe, and to show that, through the historic preservation process, which is especially due to the activities of the tribes’ own archaeology program, and through legislation and litigation, the tribe has been successful in gaining protection over their prized and very meaningful ceremonial, religious, and sacred grounds.
Mills and Ferguson stress, more than argue, that the Zuni Tribe is a perfect example for the successes that can come out of these diverse approaches used to protect areas of sacred significance. To arrange and organize their points, they first give an overview of the cultural contexts of the sacred sites at Zuni. They explain what a sacred site is (means) to the Zuni, where it is located relative to the surrounding area, and why it is important to preserve and protect them. They go on to describe the Zuni’s own archaeology program and how that aided the sites’ final protection. Finally, they conclude with a summary of all the benefits that the Zuni Tribe gained throughout this tedious process.
Mills and Ferguson use actual working examples to prove most of their points and to show their significances. They go through the exact approaches that the Zuni Tribe used to gain the protection of their sacred sites. The two authors also run through the issues in the protection of sacred sites in order to stress that the Zuni do encounter problems in this process, and it is a challenging and tedious goal to attain. More importantly, to prove some of their ideas, they include charts containing information about the sites specifically, which help to visualize some of the information they are portraying.
Overall, Mills and Ferguson stress the importance of the diversity of approaches that the Zuni Tribe used and that need to be used to protect areas of sacred significance. They stress these ideas and methods because they have proved, through the Zuni Tribe case study, to be successful after a little work from them native people.
ANGELA YONKER University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Mills, Barbara J. and Ferguson, T.J. Preservation and Research of Sacred Sites by the Zuni Indian Tribe of New Mexico. Human Organization. 1998. Vol. 57(1):30-42.
In this article, Mills and Ferguson discuss the impact of the Zuni Archaeology Program and the Zuni Heritage and Historic Preservation Office (ZHHPO) on protecting the Zuni tribe’s sacred sites facing destruction or disruption. After federal recognition that culturally historical sites should be preserved under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) and other legislation, ZHHPO was able to effectively monitor the protection of sacred sites. This was done by inviting Zuni religious leaders and archaeological experts to sites in question in order to research the land in question. However, the article points out, this was sometimes a difficult process, because the complex nature of Zuni religious structure made it difficult to contact the proper Zuni authorities. In one instance, a site called Knife Hill was destroyed due to inadequate communication. This destruction led to increased communication and consultation with Zuni organizations prior to site disruption. (mention here that this is one example of several, so that this particular examle sounds like part of a summary, not just a general statement, if that makes sense) Since 1990, the formation of a new Zuni Cultural Resources Advisory Team has proven more effective in protecting many sacred sites. Generally, the Zuni groups decided that avoidance is the best way to protect the site, but sometimes they used measures such as adding the site to the Zuni reservation, or otherwise minimizing impact by redirecting routes. Other measures taken to compensate the Zuni for destruction of included a monetary settlement for $25 million for aboriginal Zuni land. In closing, the authors note that although the Zuni tribe has been effective in protecting sites through historic preservation process, there have been more successes through other means, especially individual cases brought to state and federal courts.
LEAH BENDLIN University of Wisconsin (Larry Nesper)
Nazarea, Rhoades, Bontoyan, and Flora. Defining Indicators Which Make Sense to Local People: Intra-Cultural Variation in Perception of Natural Resources. Human Organization 1998. Vol.57: 159-170.
In their article “Defining Indicators Which Make Sense to Local People: Intra-Cultural Variation in Perceptions of Natural Resources”, Nazarea, Rhoades, Bontoyan, and Flora unveil a new method and case study evidence in the field of ethnoecology. The authors first examine the flaws with the identification, measurement, and use of current “indicator” testing methods. The primary fault of current methods seems to be the selection of indicators by “outside” bodies. Scientists and anthropologists chose indicators which they believe to be significant, but which may in actuality be culturally irrelevant to the native view.
The authors then apply a revised technique to a current environmental situation in the Manupali Watershed, Philippines with the intent of “studying the landscape-lifescape interface and perceptions as well as behavior of various actors using oral history, human activity grids, cognitive mapping, and Thematic Apperception Tests (TATs)”. The TAT is a widely used technique for personality description and psychological assessment. The test consists of a set of cards each showing an ambiguous representation. The informant or respondent is then asked to “tell a story” based on the figure. In personality testing, the premise is that the respondents will tend to identify with some figures, and thus reveal some sort of “self-concepts”. This common test was adapted for the purpose of this study by replacing the figure drawings with photographs of actual scenes depicting the lifescape and landscape around the watershed. The “stories” of 51 respondents, narrated in response to the images, were recorded verbatim and then scored by the research team. Results were first categorized by the gender, ethnicity, and age of the respondent, then tabulated by “major theme” (ie. intrinsic values, production orientations, social, economic, political relations, etc.).
The authors claim that by first assimilating the native interpretations of their own culture, they can then create more accurate, culturally relevant indicator tests. In this particular case study, the people of the Manupali Watershed stressed usefulness over commercialization, thus indicating priority of direct use over market potential of resources. The project is in the least an interesting example of the modification of common methods to specific issues, and at most a revolutionary new way to determine accurate results from culture studies.
ANDY HOOGENAKKER University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
O’Neil, John, Reading, Jeffrey, Leader, Audrey. Changing the Relations of Surveillance: The Development of a Discourse of Resistance in Aboriginal Epidemiology. Human Organization Summer 1998, Vol. 57(2): 230-237
This article details the collaborative effort between 1st Nation political groups and a university-based research group to create an epidemiological study of Aboriginal health in Canada. The authors describe problems in prior research efforts that resulted in a portrayal of the Aboriginal groups as weak and dependent on the Canadian government and the larger Canadian society. These negative portrayals diminished the Aboriginal efforts to obtain self-government and economic development as well as their efforts to become part of Canadian society as a whole. The article stresses the need for epidemiological research that will identify medical needs of the Aboriginal groups in a way that reinforces equal power relationships between the Canadian government and Aboriginal groups.
Evidence used by the authors in the article included workshops conduced by the university to consult with Aboriginal health technicians regarding ways to conduct research in Aboriginal communities. These workshops led to the idea of creating a survey with a core set of national questions and a set of question a regarding region-specific needs and issues. With this survey design in mind, eight 1st Nation university students working as research assistants conducted exploratory interviews on health issues and concerns in all of the 1st Nation communities in Canada. The survey was created with 30% of the questions being core questions and the rest regionally –based questions. Seventeen communities were selected to take the survey based on four sets of criteria. Of these seventeen communities, only one refused to participate in the survey. The epidemiological survey received excellent return rates and the returns were complete, accurate and discriminating in response detail. The collaboration between the political groups and the university-based research group led to the creation of a study that was both scientifically valid, yet created largely by the Aboriginal group so that they were active, willing participants.
Data in this article was organized in a concise, coherent matter. The authors’ argument was reasonable and correct and led the reader to understand how an epidemiological study could be created efficiently and at the same time, illustrate medical needs specific to Aboriginal communities in Canada without depicting them in a negative light.
KATIE KRUEGER University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Page-Reeves, Janet. Alpaca Sweater Design and Marketing: Problems and Prospects for Cooperative Knitting Organizations in Bolivia. Human Organization, 1998 Volume 57 (1): 83-93.
Janet Page-Reeves addresses the problem of women working in Bolivia knitting alpaca sweaters while trying to earn money to contribute to the family income in order to make ends meet. In Bolivia, as the family incomes have diminished in size and productivity due to subdivision, over-exploitation, soil erosion and drought, the relative worth of agricultural products has fallen with respect to the cost of manufactured goods and necessary farm inputs. Migration has become a common occurrence in Bolivia because it is the only way households can make financial ends meet.
Page-Reeves states, “In Cochabamba, more than 2000 women knit for the diverse organizations and businesses, which have developed in the region over the past 40 years. The most well-known sweater exporters are middle-class entrepreneurs who manage extensive putting-out systems.” She backs this statement up by discussing a study conducted by June Nash, who studied Mayan potters in Amatenango, Mexico and discovered how the
“ Increasing commercialization and rising profits have given men an incentive to become involved in the pottery business, and to usurp control of the supply of materials and the distribution of pots. This has also given men de facto control over income previously controlled by women. In Mexico, the opportunity to migrate for wage labor affords men greater knowledge and experience with outsiders, while cultural dictates limiting women’s behavior and movement result in low literacy rates and a higher level of monolingualism among women. Cultural restrictions thus make women dependent and give men an advantage when they enter into the pottery industry.”
Page-Reeves then begins to discuss attempted projects that are helping out women in poverty. One such project is the ATO (Alternative Trading Organization) markets, which are associated with an international movement to promote fair trade. Those involved in the markets believe that the root cause of poverty is the dependence of small-scale producers on relations with middlemen. Through the ATOs, the knitters are able to gain access to markets. The ATOs have strong allegiances to its clients once a relationship has been established and they tend to be more lenient and understanding of the problems of production and supply that artisans often encounter. On the other hand, a downside to working with ATOs is that they have difficulty selling knitwear items as expensive as the alpaca garments. They also lack the specialist retail outlets that are needed to promote these items.
Another project that made an attempt at helping out the knitters was Asociacion de Artesania y Moda (ADAM). ADAM was believed to help the knitters by aiding them in standardizing sweater size and improving the design and quality of their products to be more becoming to the US market. Unfortunately, the knitters entered the association with the encouragement to take out a loan, which backfired when ADAM went under, leaving the knitters in more debt than prior to participation in the project.
Page-Reeves continues by discussing another project called Alpaca Works. The main goals of this project were to help the already existing knitwear groups and improve their design and quality of the products. Alpaca Works wanted to expand the market and to train the knitters to accurately and adequately calculate the costs of production and distribution. Unlike ADAM, Alpaca Works was organized into a non-profit institution.
In the end, neither ADAM nor Alpaca Works were able to internalize the costs of marketing and design, which became a key factor in the way both projects went under. In the case of ADAM, the price of the sweater had no effect on the cost of production. In the case of Alpaca Works, the final sales price was not able to reflect the entire cost of producing and selling the sweater. One reason for these outcomes is that the knitters did not understand the real costs that go into designing and marketing knitwear. They were, therefore, unwilling to pay for these services. When events like these happen, knitters are unable to compete in the “real world” and will, therefore, remain in poverty.
AMBER DRURY University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Perry, Melissa J. and Frederick R. Bloom. Perceptions of Pesticide Associated Cancer Risks among Farmers: A Qualitative Assessment. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57(3):342-349.
Melissa J. Perry and Frederick R. Bloom explore the perceptions of a sample of rural dairy farmers in south central Wisconsin regarding their awareness of cancer and the risks associated with pesticide use or misuse. Through an intimate focus group and interviews with several individuals, Perry and Bloom were able to extract several themes concerning dairy farmers in this area and link these concerns to the apparently higher risk of acquiring chronic illnesses in rural areas. Focusing mainly in four areas of question; risk awareness, information, pesticide use, and prevention recommendations, Perry and Bloom facilitate an interesting discussion of apparent obstacles to a healthy life style for farmers and their families.
In the focus group and interviews, farmers reported their experiences according to three themes including, farm sustainability, time and stress, and cancer causes. Several individuals expressed concern about the future of the farm industry and their ability to adapt to an increasing dependency upon technology. Perry and Bloom note, “Health is being compromised for sustainability, technological viability and ultimately economic survival” (Perry & Bloom 344). Another theme of discussion is the effect that the pressures of productivity have upon dairy farmers including concerns about the effect stress has upon susceptibility to chronic illness and stress as justification for risky use of pesticides. Finally, Perry and Bloom identify causes of cancer and perceived awareness of causative agents as another major theme among participants.
Perry and Bloom point to a theory of social stress to account for risky management of pesticides among the sample group. The pressure for these dairy farmers to produce not only comes from social pressures but also from a necessity for the survival of their families. This burden is sustained by the industry and ultimately, “the health of the individual farmer becomes expendable as the effort to maintain the productivity of the farm operation becomes more difficult” (Perry & Bloom 346). A possible solution offered in this article is that of a change in acceptability of risky behavior under extreme stress conditions. Perry and Bloom argue that there is a cultural logic which tolerates the belief that personal health can be compromised for immediate and favorable results. It is also recommended that prevention programs not only educate, but attend to specific circumstances on the personal and peer level.
SARAH PETERSON University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Pollnac, Richard B., Poggie, John J., and Cabral, Stephen L. Thresholds of Danger: Perceived Risk in a New England Fishery. Human Organization, 1998. Vol. 57 (1): 53-59.
North Atlantic fishing is notorious for its status as one of the most dangerous occupations. Even so, previous research has shown that fishers tend to deny the risk involved and that variability exists in the perception of a dangerous event and the subsequent coping mechanisms.
Pollnac, Poggie, and Cabral believe that these thresholds of danger are influenced by cultural and individual factors. They posit that certain characteristics specific to the fisher will determine one’s perception of risk. These characteristics include the age and experience of the individual, their occupational role on board, the type of fishing practiced, the prior experience with dangerous situations at sea, and the fisher’s ethnicity. Justification for the application of these characteristics is discussed.
The authors suggest that “fishers may also be characterized by personality types which would minimize perceived dangers of the occupation;” in fact, it is stated that the ability to work in the sea environment selects for a specific personality configuration. Successful fishers tend to be fatalistic, as well as courageous, aggressive, adventurous and active. Much literature is cited to bolster this argument.
The authors then proceed to discuss their method, which “uses measures of perceived risk to enable evaluation of thresholds of danger for various categories of commercial fishers. First, fishers were asked to rate 15 common yet potentially dangerous situations, on a scale from 1-10. This data comprised the dependent variables. Then fishers’ reports, including actual experience with the above15 situations, were analyzed. This set of data comprised the independent variable (experience with potentially dangerous situations). The research location was noted as New Bedford, Massachusetts, a major fishing port in New England, known primarily for “long trip draggers and offshore scallop vessels.” The ethnicity of the fishers is primarily American, Portuguese, and Norwegian. The sample for this study consisted of 44 fishers: 20 American, 14 Portuguese, and 8 Norwegian.
A two-part analysis was conducted. First, a scale was created, comparing the 15 incidents listed above with their weighted sum of responses from the sample of fishers. Three categories of were constructed, representative of certain levels of worry. WORRY 1 encompassed less severe incidents that wouldn’t necessarily result in immediate consequences (engine failure or loss of steering). WORRY 2 represented the severest of incidents (explosion in engine room, collision at sea, falling overboard). WORRY 3 incidents were less severe but had more immediate consequences (fire in engine room and galley, ice in the rigging). After these categories were established, a stepwise multiple regression was used to uncover relationships between types of WORRY.
The relationships discovered in analysis were “examined in relation to aspects of the occupational subculture of fishing that adapts fishers to these dangers associated with the occupation.” Among other conclusion, it was found that Americans tend to have the highest threshold for danger and Norwegians the lowest, on account of differing levels of personal involvement.
MARIEKA BROUWER University of Wisconsin, Madison (Larry Nesper).
Price, David H. Gregory Bateson and the OSS: World War II and Bateson’s Assessment of Applied Anthropology Human Organization, Vol. 57, No. 4, 1998
Price begins by explaining that most anthropologists were employed by governmental agencies during World War II; they had quite varied experiences but overall had common frustrations (mostly conflict between their ideas and the sponsor’s). Price then focuses on the work Gregory Bateson did for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was the precursor to the CIA. Price is particularly interested in the affects of wartime on his anthropological views, for example, ethical dilemmas.
The director of the program, “Wild” Bill Donovan, wanted a diverse and innovative staff and Bateson and his wife, Margaret Mead had been working on looking at “culture at a distance.” Bateson was at first reluctant to work for the government, fearing a loss of control over the direction of his work. He also had an ethical dilemma of using Anthropology as a “weapon of war.” Despite his misgivings, he did important and influential work with “black propaganda” radio by posing as the enemy and projecting a negative image and giving them a dislikable slant.
After their work for the government in wartime, Bateson and Mead had very different views about their field. Mead remained optimistic and retained her faith in science. Bateson, however, was pessimistic and felt that applying science to society was dangerous; science should foster understanding rather than action.
Despite this attitude, Bateson did extremely important work in India and South Asia. He felt that Americans should try to positively influence British colonial policy and rule. He saw two problems with the current British system: lack of communication upward and the British delegation of authority. The District Commissioners went from personal meetings with the natives to distant statistical approaches. He also noticed that as sanitation and living conditions improved, they brought their families with them and no longer took native mistresses, whom he thought gave them some tie to the native life. Bateson saw the British rule as that of a strict parent, treating the natives as children. He felt they should act less like “rigid British parents, and more like nurturing American parents” who are less likely to want their child to grow up just like them and rather, learn from the new and different experiences of their child.
British presence would be stronger in the post-war society if the changed the “personality” of their rule. He suggested that they continue to gather intelligence, analyze the popular sentiment of the native people, encourage the local culture, and continue education for colonialist authorities.
Gregory Bateson had strong objections before participating in this governmental work, ended up doing very important and influential work, but then after the war had deep regrets about the work he had done. Price ends by asking the question: “Did Gregory Bateson dislike applied anthropology because it didn’t work, or did it work and he just didn’t like what had been done with it?” He answers this question by saying that his work for the OSS was extremely successful but he did not approve of the application of his research and ideas, calling it “scientific prostitution.” Policy makers only hear when what applied anthropologists are saying agrees with their agenda. This article was extremely informative and interesting while at the same time being concise and clear.
CARRIE RICHGELS University of Wisconsin- Madison (Larry Nesper)
Purcell, Trevor W. Indigenous Knowledge and Applied Anthropology: Questions of Definition and Direction. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57, No. 3: 258-269
In this article, Purcell’s main argument focuses on how the indigenous knowledge of many cultures has been altered because of the expansion of Europe. Purcell goes into great detail about what anthropologists first thought about this and how they are now going about finding different ways re-establish independence and self-governing systems in these effected cultures.
Purcell comments on the ethnocentrism of Western knowledge. Europeans believed that “true” knowledge had to have a scientific approach and any tribes that had a different way of thinking, for example, a spiritual and symbolic approach, was not considered to be a “true” form of knowledge; they called it indigenous knowledge. A question was raised on whether or not “western knowledge could be considered indigenous,” but Purcell claims that since science is not culturally relative, it cannot therefore be considered indigenous.
Purcell looked at three different periods of applied anthropology during the time in which the westernization of other cultures was occurring. He first looked at how applied anthropologists reacted to colonialism. The hegemony of the West forcefully pressured many indigenous villages into thinking and believing the same way they did. Many applied anthropologists at this time had a difficult time finding ways to respect these tribes’ cultural morals and beliefs, while at the same time helping them adjust to the ways of the West. Purcell’s second period in which he comments on is the beginning of World War II. Anthropologists were tentative about entering the war, but soon became extremely active participants in many different areas once they realized that the Nazis were “violating the psychic unity of human kind.” Then Purcell looks at development anthropology, which had more to do with the events that were occurring outside of the common work of anthropologists. The end of the war left the world in poverty and debt. Anthropologists were hired especially by the army to teach others about human relations and welfare. Purcell notes how this also contributed to the way other nations were influenced by the West.
After these major events calmed down, many international organizations were concerned about indigenous rights. In Purcell’s work, as well as many other anthropologists, he began to work on ways to give back to these cultures and help them adjust to the effects of westernization and help integrate their own culture back in to their society. Purcell concludes that even though the ethnocentrism of the West has affected many indigenous cultures and their ways of thinking, it is important to help these cultures become autonomous.
CAITLIN LELINE University of Wisconsin- Madison (Larry Nesper)
Sara A. Quant, Thomas A. Arcury, Colin K. Austin and Rosa M. Saavedra. Farmworker and Farmer Perceptions of Farmworker Agricultural Chemical Exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization, 1998, Vol. 57, No. 3, (359-368).
This article presents the research, findings and recommendations of the authors with regard to how the problem of exposure to agricultural chemicals can be reduced. They recognize the problem to be a grave one and argue that a culturally sensitive solution must be put forward if the issue is to be adequately addressed.
The research conducted was based on extensive interviews with farmers and farm workers in North Carolina, a state with a large population of agricultural workers, many of whom are migrants who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. The goal was to establish a picture of people’s conceptions and misconceptions about chemical exposure. These interviews revealed several interesting facts regarding perceptions about risk factors.
Worthy of note was the finding that people didn’t tend to perceive the presence of any risk if workers were not able to detect chemicals via the senses. Workers either expected to feel a burning sensation on the skin or in the eyes or to smell the chemical. What could not be detected this way must therefore not be harmful.
Other misconceptions included the notion that chemicals could not be absorbed via the skin and that they required body openings such as cuts, nostrils or ear canals for entry. Still others included the belief that the presence of water (moist plants for example) heralded greater danger. The researchers also found that people believed that smaller, thinner people were at greater risk or that agricultural enterprises are using far fewer chemicals today than they were in previous decades.
Quandt et al devote some time to exposing the falsehood of these notions and also note that farmers tended to downplay risk significantly more often than farm workers. They state that they are not surprised given the cultural similarity they shared with each other.
To address the problem, Quandt and her colleagues propose the introduction of education campaigns aimed at farm workers specifically. They do not, however provide any details about what such a program might look like or how it might be implemented.
CONSTANTINE J. REGAS University of Wisconsin (Nesper)
Reeves-Ellington, Richard H. A Mix of Cultures, Values, and People: An Organizational Case Study. Human Organization, 1998 Vol. 57: 94-107
The American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) is a university in Southwest Bulgaria comprised of three constituencies: the American faculty and the Bulgarian students and staff. Reeves-Ellington asserts that cultural conflict between the American and Bulgarian constituencies arise due to their differing normative and prescriptive value orientations. Normative values are defined as cultural logic, and prescriptive values as social knowledge.
Reeves-Ellington demonstrates the differing normative values of the American and Bulgarian constituencies by constructing four categories of normative values and defining the constituencies positions within these categories. The four categories are humane nature, environment, human relations, and time. According to Reeves-Ellington for the Bulgarians human nature is to distrust, while for Americans trust is their normative value. The Bulgarians live in a dependent environment and the Americans in an independent one. For Bulgarians human relations should be structured, whereas the American faculty valued unstructured relationships. Finally, Bulgarians value the present time, and Americans place more emphasis on the importance of the future.
The differing prescriptive values of the Bulgarians and Americans is discussed in terms of power distance, individualism and uncertainty avoidance. Power distance describes how the constituencies interact with those making decisions. Americans are likely to openly oppose and speak out against policies they disagree with, while the Bulgarians, if they speak out at all, are likely to employ a neutral third party moderator. In the category of individualism, Reeves-Ellington suggests that Bulgarians are less independent than their American counterparts. The Bulgarians rely upon the help of family and friends, as well as a clear set of laws governing behavior. Americans reject all this interference believing that as adults people are responsible enough to make the right decisions and fend for themselves. Finally, uncertainty avoidance relates to how people react to deviance. The Bulgarians appalled deviation, and again desired a set of rules to govern how to act in a situation, while Americans were more open to differences and likely to adapt to change.
Reeves-Ellington obtained these results through several surveys, administered to faculty, staff and students, which made statements and asked the subject to rate whether they strongly agreed, strongly disagreed, or rate where between these extremes they fell, on a scale. The author also used participant observation to further strengthen his argument, commonly citing Bulgarian jokes and proverbs.
Reeves-Ellington concludes that the university cannot function indefinitely with such a high level of cultural tension, as understood through their differing normative and prescriptive values. Eventually, the university must choose between offering an American style liberal arts education, resolving conflicts through this common mission, or becoming an American subsidized Bulgarian university.
ERIC FIEDLER University of Wisconsin, Madison (Larry Nesper)
Russell, Susan D., and Rani T. Alexander. Measuring Seining Strategies and Fishing Success in the Philippines. Human Organization, Summer 1998 Vol.57(2):145-158.
In their article, Russell and Alexander study the fishermen of the Tagalog, who live in the coastal community of San Andres, Batangas, Philippines. They seek to understand to what degree certain fishing strategies account for differential success among a people who have similar boat sizes and lack electronic fish-finders, formal navigational training, and machines to help with hauling. When studying the different strategies, Russell and Alexander focus on what time of day fishermen do their fishing, where they decide to fish, and what type of fish they decide to pursue.
Russell and Alexander start the body of their article by providing a small summary of the history of seine fishing in San Andres. They then move on to discuss how the skippers, or foremen, of the different boat crews decide on the when, where, and what of their fishing trips. Most of these decisions are based on the level of skill of the skipper. The important skills, as determined by the Batangas fishermen, are ranked based on knowledge of where to find fish, familiarity with the waters currents and waves, knowledge about where and when to set the net, and knowledge of the sea floor’s geography.
The authors next discuss the fishing tactics and strategies of the Tagalog people. They explain that a “strategy” is simply a collection of different tactics, which can be interchanged as the fishermen see fit. Russell and Alexander took a sample of 46 boats, each of which fished during the peak months. They based their comparable data on the number of trips, number of different locations, and number of different species caught during a two-week period for each of the different boat crews. They then divided these 46 boat crews into four different strategy types, based on the data collected, and conclude that the most successful crews practice more than one strategy. Finally, Russell and Alexander take the factors of debt and wealth into consideration.
In their conclusion, Russell and Alexander state that the average amount of fish caught per trip is the best way of defining fishing success. They formulate their conclusion by accounting for a crew’s effort and strategy. They use their findings to aid economists and biologists in the effort to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels. Rather than trying to reduce the fishing effort, these two groups should pay closer attention to the different strategies that are used by fishermen and take action according to this data.
NICOLE HAHN University of Wisconsin – Madison (Larry Nesper)
Saleh, Mohammed Abdullah Eben. Planning for Conservation: The Management of Vernacular Landscape in Asir Region, Southwestern Saudi Arabia. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57(2): 171-180.
This article is a study of the change in land use practices in the last few decades since Saudi Arabia has come under the rule of a centralized government. This study juxtaposes the traditional lifestyle of tribal peoples on the land with the changes that have occurred as urbanization encroaches and tribal lands have become public lands, with a particular focus on the Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Information for this study was gathered in five field excursions occurring between 1990-1996, using photographic documentation, interviews with land managers, and field investigations, in both traditional and contemporary settings. Saleh defines a vernacular landscape as one that has a built form of a settlement, surrounding agricultural land and natural areas; the interplay of these constituents allows one to observe the relationship of the inhabiting human group to that place.
Indigenous people of the Asir region lived ecologically sound lives on the land prior to the unification of the Kingdom in 1932. This lifestyle included local resource management, which promoted social cohesion, appropriate resource exploitation and a sustained population growth. This tribal way of life is modeled after Islamic concepts of land reclamation, in which one may acquire land by reviving it from a barren state, putting a settlement on it, or bringing water to it. This system allows the people to be nomadic or stationary, where land is passed down to relatives according to male lines.
Saleh goes on to detail the roots of conflict in vernacular land practices, all stemming from the central government. With the emergence of the central government has come a double in Saudi Arabia’s population size in the last two decades, an increasing migration of nomadic peoples to urban and rural areas, the breakdown of multi-generational houses and a decrease in communal cohesion and cooperation, as well as an increased dependence on electricity and automobiles.
Changes in socio-economic factors, land use and accessibility, and technology are all causing changes in Saudi Arabia’s vernacular landscape, as well as the peoples cultural and behavioral relations to it. Saleh posits that by integrating traditional land use practices into governmental programs, environmental conservation can be attained, calling for “a reorganization of the centralized land management in order to allow indigenous people in the region to regain more control over their resources.” (171) He purports that this integration of natural resource management techniques can be implemented via village councils, kin-groups, formal groups and local institutions.
LINDSEY HOUGHTON University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Schneider, Mary Jo. The Wal-Mart Annual Meeting: From Small-Town America to a Global Corporate Culture. Human Organization, 1998 Vol.57(3): 292-299.
In this article Schneider explores the organization, trends, the people at, and the message of the Wal-Mart annual shareholders meeting. Having attended the meeting for the last twenty years she is aware of the many changes that have taken place in consumer America that have also affected Wal-Mart.
The first section of the paper looks at the legacy of the largest private employer in the country. Starting at the 1950s and 1960s, Schneider works her way to the present state of Wal-Mart, referencing key people and events. One of the key people that (is mentioned often) is Sam Walton, the president of the company. She looks into why he has had so much success. A concept that is examined in this section is the analogy that Wal-Mart is like the general store of more than a century ago. Today, the franchise uses celebrities, as well as Sam Walton to portray its progress as much as its roots.
The next section shows the reader the ins and outs of the annual meeting that is put on for the shareholders of Wal-Mart. Like the store has, the message of this meeting has changed throughout the years, yet the format has remained fairly stable. During these meetings outstanding employees are recognized and it is used as a way to instill a sense of family and universal goals in all employees.
The final section of the article focuses on the meeting message and the meaning of Wal-Mart. One of the key factors is the power of being a member of a group. Each member is included, all the while excluding outsiders. Schneider calls the meeting culturally fabricated and removed from everyday life. She points out that a constant concern of large companies is that their workers will resist company values. Ritual plays a large role at the meeting, ensuring great internalization of the company values.
Another issue that Schneider addresses is the conflict between Wal-Mart being seen as a high tech company versus the “general store”. The annual meeting presents the store as being from an older and better America, more related to the “general store” model.
Finally, Schneider points out that it is a combination of new, innovative ideas and traditional values that is attributable to Wal-Mart’s success. One key to this is each employee taking his/her own initiative, which is a core value instilled throughout the annual meeting.
STEPHANIE MILLAR University of Wisconsin-Madison (Professor Larry Nesper)
Simons, Anna. How Ambiguity Results in Excellence: The Role of Hierarchy and Reputation in U.S. Army Special Forces. Human Organization, 1998 Vol. 57 117-123
The military is one of the best institutions for bringing together individualism and conformity or indeterminacy and rigid structure. Anna argues “that it is the ambiguities embedded in army structure, which help account for excellence (117).” She gathered her information doing fieldwork for more than a year concentrating on observing intra- and inter-team dynamics. She describes the two formal hierarchies existing within the U.S. Army. One hierarchy is the officer composed of captains, majors, lieutenant colonels, colonels, and generals. The other hierarchy order is the enlisted personnel composed of privates, corporals, and sergeants (or in the case of Special Forces, non-commissioned officers [NCO’s]). Technically, NCO’s and officers are unequal, but when they work together, their hierarchies cross. The Army has created a hierarchy system that causes soldiers to try and “out do” each other.
The Special Forces (SF) is it’s own branch within the U.S. Army. “SF soldiers are volunteers three times over: for the army, for the air borne training, and for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (118).” Individuals are taught skills over three different phases of training. Teams are then designed to function together as “coherent, self-contained, self-sufficient units (118).” They are considered the most stable and mature units in the U.S. army, but are not the most professional.
Teams are called Operational Detachments Alpha, ODAs or A-teams. These teams conduct the missions. The five teams rest in battalions, the five teams combined into one group. Teammates often stick together either in tents or in the woods. They don’t spend much time as a large group though they may be stationed all together. The teams are like a pyramid and one group commander is at the top. If a soldier has a problem, they would consult their captain first and then the major. No other officers should be dealing with problems.
Every Special Forces ODA is comprised of 12 men. There is a captain, a warrant officer, team sergeant, assistant operations sergeant, and eight sergeants. The eight sergeants pair up and divide four jobs. This allows for flexibility in case the teams should need to split into two separate groups. The team sergeants must motivate and please the three constituencies. “All SF soldiers share the same goal: they want their team to be not only the best team it can be, but the best team in the company, the battalion, and preferably the group (120).” If this happens, they are given the best missions.
The soldiers are admittedly arrogant and always think they are right. Though, the SF teams often try to cheat their way out of training and appear lazy, they must be prepared to jump into action at any given time.
The SF teams “exist in a highly constrained world (121).” Knowledge is on a need to know basis. Individuals are expected act out of loyalty. “The greatest ambiguity for ODAs, then, is never knowing the answers to who, what, where, when, or why (122).”
Though the army may standardize the structure of the Special Forces, the men are not. Being part of the SF boosts egos. When egos are involved ambiguity has no place. This is not always neater or more convenient by design.
SARAH D. GANTZ University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Smith, Kevin. Sedentarization and Market Integration: New Opportunities for Rendille and Ariaal Women of Northern Kenya. Human Organization, 1998. Vol. 57 (4): 459-467.
Smith concentrates on elaborating and discussing his ethnographic research of the Rendille and Ariaal community of Songa in northern Kenya. His documentation focuses on the reorientation of gender social functions and the importance and impact of economic production methods on Songa’s social hierarchal infrastructure. The power relationships between the sexes of this patriarchal society have been traditionally unequal allowing men to subordinate women to their demands. This is primarily the result of men’s possession of total control and access to authoritive positions and production methods in the arena of economic and political transactions. Smith cites the result of those transactions is the objectification of women and their reduction to mere commodities in operations of exchange such as marriage.
It is through ecological variations and the proximity of daily produce markets that Songa has shifted from a pastoral community to agriculture. Smith suggests that this has encouraged women to explore agricultural labor. Profit and the value of economic contribution have given Songa women a small taste of liberation through economic autonomy.
Smith recognizes that in the absence of their husbands women have the chance to exert control over their profits where as joint participation in marketing activities leads to men dictating the expenditure of the resulting income. The stagnant control of lands and access to animals is the result of patrilineal inheritance that continues to alienate women from improving their status and positions of control equal to men. Smith explains that Songa women’s participation in marketing activities has resulted in their profits becoming the major contributions to the household budgets. Men now have the liberty to spend their income for other purposes leaving women as the new household providers.
By conducting interviews among men and women of Songa about economic conditions, Smith finds that women with more economic autonomy felt they had no more control over resources than pastoral women. The research conducted indicated that overall, the status and domination of the male sex imposed effective pressures and limitations regardless of women’s increased contribution and economic control. Cultural interpretations of superiority and gender value prevail and remain the inhibiting source for women to move beyond the sphere of the family, and additionally, a cause for the limitation of their participation in a society dominated by male kin.
ARACELIS JANELLE SCHARON University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Thu, Kendall M. The health consequences of industrialized agriculture for farmers in the United States. Human Organization, 1998 Vol.57: 335-351.
After World War II, the United States’ agricultural industry became a model for efficiency and productivity in the modern world. Fewer workers were needed to produce the same amount of food, and machines took the place of manual and livestock labor. An unfortunate side effect of this industrialization of farming is a large increase in work related fatalities and injuries, more than six times that of any other industry. Much work on the part of government agencies has been done to curb this trend although no significant decrease has been noted.
Thu’s article cites the many downfalls of the research and planning aimed at reducing agricultural hazards. The author points to errors in data collection, statistical analysis, and biased assumptions as the main obstacles to increasing farm safety. Thu explains, in depth, the problem with assuming that farmers are uneducated about the hazardous conditions of the industry and the safety procedures that prevent casualties. Anthropological research is the key to finding the social and economic reasons for the deadly patterns.
Through field interviews with farmers and their spouses, Thu finds that other factors besides education and social planning are to blame for work related injuries. The farmers’ words speak volumes about the economic and social problems facing the agricultural industry from market uncertainty to household stress. Thu discovers that, from the industry’s point of view, safety takes a backseat to efficiency and productivity. This, Thu theorizes, is the cause of hazardous conditions on the farm, not lack of education.
This article is well written and very easy to understand. It includes detailed methodology for conducting interviews, as well as the words of the workers themselves. Thu’s arguments are well justified with a more in depth approach to research and statistical analysis. The solution then becomes to look not only at changes by the agricultural industry, but rather changes by society as a whole to understand the factors causing hazardous farm conditions.
ISAAC PERKINS University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Turner, Christina B. The World System and Cooperative Development in Rural Paraguay. Human Organization, 1998. Vol.57(4):430-436.
Turner uses the rural agrarian development efforts in Paraguay as a case study in historical processes and international structures. The author employs world system theory to assess the local community perspective to reveal how the modest collective project operated within the complex system of global socioeconomic and political conditions. The article demonstrates the dynamic involvement of the peasant class in their struggle for autonomy and the deficiencies of a development scheme that failed to appreciate the political environment of the developing nation.
More generally, Turner advocates the use of a standard model for cooperative development that attends to the historical context of the targeted groups. In developing such aid strategies for severely impoverished populations, at a minimum, a system of checks and balances must be implemented to ensure that abuses and mishandling of development funds by intermediaries are prevented. The author provides a poignant testament to this end with the story of the Cooperative Pio XII whose membership was persecuted for their economic success.
Turner traces the progress and ultimate disappointment of the US-backed development initiative of Nu Pyajhu Guazu to demonstrate two points. First, Paraguay serves as an example of the unanticipated consequences that can surface if social dynamics and power relations in developing countries are not taken into consideration when devising development policy. Second, the events detailed by the author illustrate the effects of international political and economic interests at the local level. In the case of Nu Pyajhu Guazu, evolving American foreign policy and the political hegemony under the former president Alfredo Stroessner are shown to be the major external determinants in the breakdown of the small community cooperative.
ROBIN RUSSELL University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Waldram, James B. Anthropology in Prison: Negotiating Consent and Accountability with a “Captured” Population. Human Organization, 1998 Vol.57(2):238-245.
This article discusses Aboriginal (Native Americans) prison inmates in the Canadian prison system. This group produced particular challenges in regards to ethics and research methods. Some tensions existed in the process of researching the inmates such as using participant observation research including informed consent, and accountability, all while working under the demands of both inmates and the correctional institute.
One hurdle the author James Waldram notes developed from participant observation. As a participant observer, he had difficulty gaining information because inmates or correctional workers did not trust him. He wanted to gain the trust of the participants and reciprocate for their help, as well as staying within the rules of the prison institution. It was necessary to creatively accommodate both the inmates and the codes of the correctional facility.
Just as the role of participant observer posed difficulties in researching the inmates, informed consent was also a sore issue. The author questioned the state’s control of an inmate’s right to consent to participate in research, rather than the individual inmate. Waldram asserts that yes the individual should have control over his consent.
Not only was consent important to Waldram so was ethical treatment of the inmates. Waldram was successful in maintaining ethical treatment of the inmates through concern with the information obtained, and how it empowered the inmates. Waldram’s maintenance of participant confidentiality and control of the research data showed his concern for maintaining research ethics.
Just as maintaining ethical standards in his research was important, he also avoided exploiting the inmates. Waldram argues that anthropologic research done with ethical standards can empower rather than exploit participants. According to Waldram, the Aboriginal inmates were “empowered” by accountability because they were given the opportunity to be involved in the research process by having access to and review of data collected in the research therefore avoiding exploitation. Another form of “empowerment” for the Aboriginal inmates was receiving all profits from the research for the Aboriginal Brotherhood in one prison to help develop their cultural programs.
ANGELA KUSSOW, University of Wisconsin (Larry Nesper).
White, Sydney D. From “Barefoot Doctor” to “Village Doctor” in Tiger Springs Village: A Case Study of Rural Health Care Transformations in Socialist China. Human Organization Winter, 1998 Vol.57(4): 480-490.
In this article, Sydney White addresses the overarching topic of traditional Chinese medicine versus “modern” Western medicine. Chinese and Western medicine converged in China during the 1950’s and 60’s to result in what is referred to as “cooperative” or “integrated” medicine. As China has for many centuries placed such emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine, the highly centralized, technological status of Western medicine implies a de-emphasized, lowered status of traditional medicine–something that few people in China wanted. The logical solution would be to combine traditional and western medicines, employing two or more doctors from both fields for Chinese patients. The logical solution was the path taken, and White sets out to show what went wrong with this track in Post-Mao China. White uses the Tiger Springs Village as an example to illustrate the problems of many such villages in China.
White focuses on the chronological progression of cooperative medicine from the 1950’s through the 1980’s in China. A major focus of the article is devoted to the lack of extensive training provided to doctors of cooperative medicine. White gives specific attention to the six main practitioners in the Tiger Springs Brigade pre-1983, writing a brief biography about each. He does the same with the Independent Practitioners in Tiger Springs in Post-Mao China. Probably the most important part of the article, though, is the financial strain put upon the citizens of Tiger Springs during and after cooperative medicine was instituted. White keeps careful record of how much each citizen had to pay during the cooperative medicine program and afterward. Cooperative medicine put a strain not just on the citizens of Tiger Springs, but also on the independent practitioners after the program ended.
The culmination of this article plays out best in White’s conclusion at the end of the article. The body of the article is packed with poorly organized facts and data which make the most sense when put into excellent context in the conclusion. White concludes that financing cooperative medicine will continue to be difficult, and that the government needs to better institute a national health care policy to take care of its citizens. He also concludes that while the government focuses on vaccination, they also need to begin to put more of an emphasis on basic sanitation and other environmental health issues. The end of the article is very convincing once the reader makes it through the deluge of facts in the beginning.
HEATHER THOMPSON University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Wilson, Ruth P. The Role of Anthropologists as Short-Term Consultants. Human Organization, 1998, Vol.57(2):245-252.
Wilson compares short-term consulting with traditional fieldwork. She focuses on the application of anthropological theory and its use in the field, traditional approaches of fieldwork, and power relations between external and internal or “in-country” consultants
Wilson argues that theoretical perspectives and knowledge of ethnographic literature have had a profound impact on applied research. This means that researchers have been incorporate anthropological perspectives into public health and development manuals. These concepts are then diffused through a wide range of international publications. The data collected can be researched, interpreted, and updated to guide or assist future consultants.
The focus of short-term consultancy differs from that of traditional fieldwork in important ways. Short-term consultancy ranges from one to two days, a few weeks, or repeated visits over a period of time. Usually the anthropologist is contracted to provide individual expertise or team leadership for a specific project. The contracting agency sets the guidelines for the research. The host country counterpart or “in-country” consultant is usually a professional or expert of similar status. The collaboration of consultants should result in “sustainability”. This means that the in-country consultant will eventually assume responsibility for the project. Technological advances in communication and transportation have transformed fieldwork and language barriers have been reduced.
Wilson uses a case study as a successful example of short-term consultancy. She participated in development of a national policy for the Lesotho Ministry of Health. She visited Lesotho on three separate occasions for three specific purposes. First, complete an assessment to generate data for discussion and planning of a national survey. Second, test hypotheses gathered from the assessment. Third, discuss and integrate results and construct a national policy.
Wilson was particularly interested in power relations between consultants. She and her counterpart proposed a detailed outline of activities required and divided them up. They were equally involved in every aspect of the work. The anthropologist’s success in the field is attained through teamwork, not individual accomplishment. She says that “As work gets distributed fairly, issues about control and power are easily diffused; people who produce a valued product have control over it.”
This article was well written and she supported her argument with personal experience and case studies. She emphasizes the benefits of short-term consultancy, advancing technology, collaboration of consultants, and publication of fieldwork. Wilson calls this the new model of collaboration and scientific partnership.
SHANNON LAWRENCE University of Wisconsin-Madison (Larry Nesper)
Wilson, Tamar Diana. Weak Ties, Strong Ties: Network Principles in Mexican Migration.Human Organization, Vol. 57, No. 4. 1998.
In this article, Tamar Diana Wilson discusses the influences of, principles behind, and structure of the migration of Mexican migrant workers to the United States. She highlights five general, interrelated principles concerning migration networks and their dynamics and supplements them with evidence acquired from past investigations and her own research. The five principles are as follows: (1) multilocality of networks, (2) work sites and work types as anchoring points of networks, (3) the “strength of weak ties” in network expansion, (4) diffuse networks as social capital, and (5) dense networks as social capital.
The first principle, the multilocality of networks, addresses the nodal nature of network centers in different cities and their connection with the individuals within and between networks. Networks are an important source of orientation and aid for migrant workers and their families as well as a good source of job and living information. The location of these networks is very important but the density of workers within the network fluctuates over time and tends to increase or decrease related to the local labor market demands.
The second principle, work sites and work types as anchoring points of networks, generally states that the type of work found by early immigrants will influence the size of the network, the stability of the network, the type of work available to later immigrants, and for who the employers may be looking to fill such positions.
The third principle, the “strength of weak ties” in network expansion, explores the importance of what the author has dubbed “weak ties” within the community. Quoting research by Granovetter (1973, 1982) “weak ties tend to be stronger bridges to new information about employment than strong ties”, these “bridges” within the network tend to take the form of patrons or paisons who will recruit weak ties to fill usually menial job positions within nearby networks.
The fourth principle, diffuse networks as social capital, explains the importance of “social capital”, which is described by Massey et al. as “access to jobs, housing, and financial assistance [and job information] provided by network members to new immigrants.” This social capital is very important to migrant workers, particularly when it comes to learning how to find jobs, housing, etc.
The fifth and final principle, dense networks as social capital, stresses the importance of “strong ties” and familial bonds in forming a smaller, denser network. The denser the network, the more privileged the information will be; better job opportunities, better places to live, etc. These dense networks not only share information, but reciprocate with the sharing of even more information. Wilson illustrates the differences between the different social networks as a series of open-sided, concentric circles. Information within any circle can be diffused inward or outward depending upon where its members choose to draw the line with relation to the transference of information.
Wilson gives life to these principles by providing the reader with case study illustrations from her own research. She then briefly concludes by explaining how these principles can be used to explain the dispersal and clustering patterns of Mexican migrant workers and provides notes on terminology and research presented in this paper along with a complete bibliography of all referenced materials.
HALEY ROE University of Wisconsin-Madison (Prof. Larry Nesper)
Yasumaro, Sueli; Silva, Maria Elena; Andrighetti, Maria Teresa M.; Macoris, Maria De Lourdes G.; Mazine, Cassia A. B.; Winch, Peter J. Community Involvement in a Dengue Prevention Project in Marilia, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Human Organization, 1998 Vol.57(2):209-214.
This article illustrates prevention efforts for dengue hemorrhagic fever in Latin American countries. Because dengue is only recently beginning to be a problem, it is not yet a local priority. Those involved with disease prevention knew that the focus had to be on controlling the number of backyard cans, plastic cups, and used tires as this directly affects the Aedes aegypti mosquito populations. Dengue fever is transmitted by this species of mosquito that thrives in the backyard refuse containers.
Focusing on the western edge of Marilia, Sao Paulo State, Brazil and its 10,000 inhabitants as the dengue fever prevention area, the authors of this article make it clear that the initial strategy is slightly off base. The original plan involved utilizing a community development approach to prevent dengue fever by encouraging people to get rid of the refuse from their backyards, resident meetings, and community newsletters. It was through these meetings that it was obvious the problem was not individually or culturally based. Dengue fever prevention was essentially found to lie in the hands of the municipal employee refuse collectors, the informal refuse collectors, and their interactions with residents and refuse.
In order to gain more information to form a new strategy for prevention, samples of 20 informal refuse workers and 12 municipal employees were asked about their work in detail. The municipal employees expressed pride in their work, but relayed a need for new trucks and containers of refuse that are easier to lift. Informal workers were found to deal mostly with cardboard refuse and treat the residents as clients. After 40 informant interviews with residents it became apparent that there is collaboration between refuse workers and residents. Their motives, however, are different as the residents are concerned with the mess that refuse collectors make and the collectors are concerned with earning a living. There was an issue of people from one area dumping their refuse in other neighborhoods. One of these “outsider” groups, meaning groups of people living right outside of the project area, wanted to be added to the project area. The “landless” people were allowed to participate because the prevention program would be helped and the outsiders would benefit as well.
With new data collection, development of a new strategy is underway. Now knowing that the dominant role is not individual households, but refuse workers and interactions with residents, new plans can take form to prevent dengue fever. Together, there will be plans constructed for a clean up of vacant lots, a recycling scheme, and a dialogue to improve refuse services. The future of this strategy includes promoting behavioral changes with positive feedback, education, and health communication, and most importantly (though in the distant future) establishment of a local market for used materials and new trucks.
JOANNA KAY University of Wisconsin, Madison (Larry Nesper)