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Despite the extraordinary presence of rap and bounce in New Orleans and of New Orleans practitioners of these forms in the wider world, this expressive tradition has had little institutional support in a city that devotes great resources to other forms. For this reason, an archive was set up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to preserve this cultural history in ways that would give those closest to this world as much control over the archive as possible and preserve the cultural geography of pre-Katrina.
Gardening has well-established physical, social and emotional benefits for older adults in varied circumstances. In Detroit, Michigan (United States of America), as in many cities, policy makers, funders, researchers, community organisations and residents regard gardening as a means of transforming bodies, persons, communities, cities and broader polities. We draw on ethnographic research conducted during one gardening season with 27 older African Americans in Detroit to foreground the social dimensions of wellbeing in later life and thus develop a more robust and nuanced understanding of gardening's benefits for older adults. Based on anthropological understandings of personhood and kinship, this article expands concepts of wellbeing to include social relations across multiple scales (individual, interpersonal, community, state) and temporalities (of the activity itself, experiences of ageing, city life). Even when performed alone, gardening fosters connections with the past, as gardeners are reminded of deceased loved ones through practices and the plants themselves, and with the future, through engagement with youth and community. Elucidating intimate connections and everyday activities of older African American long-term city residents counters anti-black discourses of ‘revitalisation’. An expansive concept of wellbeing has implications for understanding the generative potential of meaningful social relations in later life and the vitality contributed by older adults living in contexts of structural inequality.
Energy and its management through policy touches on some core anthropological topics such as power, value and identity. Innovative anthropological approaches are being used to reveal the interplay between energy and societies. These include ethnographies of communities and their relationship to energy resources, analysis of the material culture of homes, as well as new areas of research into digital systems. This chapter outlines the questions that energy policy raises for anthropologists as well as current approaches being used to investigate them.
Political science does not offer a distinct subdiscipline to address the subject of energy. Insofar as political science has addressed energy, it has focused on issues often neglected by other disciplines, notably the role of geopolitics and international relations, and the domestic politics of resource-rich states. Apart from the different subfields, we examine different approaches including realism, constructivism, liberalism and Marxism. The rise and fall and rise again of academic articles on energy in leading political science journals is reviewed and linked to exogenous forces such as the price of oil. Two distinct energy topics which have received attention are nuclear power and the oil crises of 1973–79 because of their wider geopolitical ramifications. Perhaps the most prominent or consistent thread through studies of the politics of energy is the question of energy security or energy independence. Finally, in recent years, energy has increasingly emerged as a focus for study in environmental politics and climate change politics in particular.
This article builds on ethnographic research concerning the Italian pro-life movement and argues for the use of intersectionality theory in studying conservative women. The article suggests, first, that understanding conservative movements necessitates linking their political claims to the social identities of their activists, as would be the case for any other social movement (e.g., feminism). These social identities are as complex and intersectional as any other: a white, upper-class pro-life activist is no less intersectional than a black feminist from a poor background. Concomitantly, there is no unique feminism, but rather a plurality of feminisms, a diversity that intersectionality facilitates the identification of. The same is true for pro-life movements, but scholars tend to use the singular form to talk about conservatism; in this article, I explore the use of the plural to show that pro-life women do not constitute a monolithic group. On the contrary, these women are diverse in terms of their reproductive stories, their working status, and their class, race, and sexual practices, and this diversity translates into different ways of being pro-life. Second, recognizing this complexity does not suggest a natural link between feminism and conservatism. Alternatively, I suggest that a better understanding of conservative women can only be reached if they are studied on their own terms.
Scrutiny of Herodotus’ ethnographic accounts of northern Syria and the region he calls ‘Palestinian Syria’ reveals oddities and inconsistencies. Here it is argued that such problems may be resolved if a fundamental fact is recognized: the enormous early literary prestige of the Phoenicians has obscured the historical roles of these other peoples in the Histories. The character and extent of this process, specifically as it bears on Syria-Palestine during Iron Age II, is analysed here. It is hoped that a new appreciation of the Syrians as an ethnicity may be gained as a result. It is suggested as well that for important historical problems researchers should ascertain whether Herodotus is not actually talking about Syrians when he discusses Phoenicians.
This article examines the symbiotic relationship between race and empire in British ethnographic discourse on the Arabs of Palestine. Drawing on the works of British explorers in late Ottoman Palestine, I show how native Palestinian Bedouin came to be viewed as a separate race within a hierarchy of Arab races, and how within this racial reconfiguration the Bedouin embodied not only an ideal model of racial purity, but also a racial archetype on which Arabness itself was measured, codified, and reproduced.
In the face of population ageing, Western health-care systems are currently demonstrating an immense interest in mobilising older people's potentials. With this agenda in mind, several countries have introduced reablement: a type of home care aimed at mobilising older people's potentials for independence by means of short-term training programmes. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Denmark's home care sector, this paper explores how elder-care professionals translate the abstract notion of ‘potentiality’ into practice. Theoretically, the paper draws on Annemarie Mol's term ‘logic of care’. I demonstrate that professionals draw on two co-existing logics of care: a logic of reablement encapsulating ideals of successful ageing and life-long development; and a logic of retirement, which in contrast allows people at the end of life to retreat and engage in enjoyable activities. Professionals manage to balance these logics in order to live up to policy obligations while at the same time complying with moral standards of good care. However, very little is achieved in terms of increased independence. I argue that by narrowly focusing on bodily and quantifiable potentials, the ‘potentiality paradigm’ holds the risk of deeming older people to lack potential. In conclusion, I therefore encourage a more inclusive approach to elder-care and ageing that recognises the complexities of ageing, including older people's potentials for retreat and leisure.
The role of pre-contact indigenous peoples in shaping contemporary multi-ethnic society in Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and elsewhere in the Caribbean, has been downplayed by traditional narratives of colonialism. Archaeological surveys in the northern Dominican Republic and open-area excavations at three (pre-)Contact-era Amerindian settlements, combined with historical sources and ethnographic surveys, show that this view needs revising. Indigenous knowledge of the landscape was key to the success of early Europeans in gaining control of the area, but also survives quite clearly in many aspects of contemporary culture and daily life that have, until now, been largely overlooked.
Although women's appearance is theorised as being central to their identity and social currency, much prior research has argued that as women age, other aspects of their lives assume a higher priority than their appearance. Nevertheless, they continue to invest time in appearance practices. In undertaking these various appearance practices, older women have to negotiate a range of conflicting social norms of age-appropriate appearance, such as managing the balancing act between ‘letting themselves go’, on the one hand, and looking like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’, on the other. This paper contributes to the growing literature on older women's attitudes to their appearance and related practices. Drawing on data from a two-year research project in a hair-salon catering primarily for older clients, I examine the question of the importance to women of their appearance through the lens of their hair-care practices. Focusing on a group of nine female clients aged 55–90 in a small hair-salon in southern England, I show how participants in their talk and embodied presentation display shifting orientations of investment/interest (or lack of interest) in their appearance. Comparing participants’ appearance practices, with their talk in two sequential environments in which a possible interest in appearance is made particularly salient, I argue that these shifting orientations reveal participants’ subtle negotiation of competing social norms of appearance for older women.
With the predicted growth in the number of people with dementia living at home across the globe, the need for home-based care is expected to increase. As such, it will be primarily family carers who will provide this crucial support to family members. Designing appropriate support for family carers is thus essential to minimise risks to their health, to prevent premature institutionalisation or poor care for persons with dementia, as well as to sustain the effective functioning of health and social care systems. To date, the high volume of research related to care at home and acknowledged low impact of interventions suggests that a re-examination of the nature of care at home, and how we come to know about it, is necessary if we are to advance strategies that will contribute to better outcomes for families. This paper describes findings from an ethnographic study that was designed to support an analysis of the complexity and materiality of family care arrangements – that is, the significance of the actual physical, technological and institutional elements shaping care-giving situations. In this paper, we describe the arrangements made by one family to show the necessary collectivity of these arrangements, and the consequences of the formal care system's failure to respond to these.
The Black Lives Matter movement has received little scholarly attention from Catholic theologians and ethicists, despite the fact that it is the most conspicuous and publicly influential racial justice movement to be found in the US context in decades. The author argues on the basis of recent field research that this movement is most adequately understood from a theological ethics standpoint through a performativity lens, as a form of quasi-liturgical participation that constructs collective identity and sustains collective agency. The author draws upon ethnographic methods in order to demonstrate that the public moral critique of the movement is embedded in four interlocking narratives, and to interrogate the Catholic theological discipline itself as an object of this moral critique in light of its own performative habituation to whiteness.
There are few studies on how professional caregivers apply the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) in nursing home care for people with dementia. Further, despite critiques in the United Kingdom, the LCP continues to be used in the Netherlands, while, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have been conducted since its implementation. The purpose of the present study was to analyze professional caregivers' experiences with the LCP in this context.
This article draws on an ethnographic study. Data collection was based on 4 months of ethnographic fieldwork in 2015 in 11 psychogeriatric units of a nursing home in a rural area of the Netherlands. Data collection included participant observation and 25 semistructured audiotaped interviews with specialist elderly care physicians, nursing staff, and a nurse practitioner.
We found that professional caregivers appreciate the LCP as a communication tool and as a reminder of care goals. However, the document was deemed too complicated and to cause duplication of work. It was also reported that the LCP did not cover the complexity of care needs that emerge in practice. Actual care needs were prioritized over the LCP, which calls its contribution into question.
Significance of Results:
Overall, the LCP does not match the context of dementia care in the nursing home. While it could be argued that the LCP does not intend to replace good care, its benefits as a reminder and a communication tool need continued consideration in relation to the amount of work it requires as a bureaucratic obligation.
This article makes a positive case for an ethnographic sensibility in political theory. Drawing on published ethnographies and original fieldwork, it argues that an ethnographic sensibility can contribute to normative reflection in five distinct ways. It can help uncover the nature of situated normative demands (epistemic argument); diagnose obstacles encountered when responding to these demands (diagnostic argument); evaluate practices and institutions against a given set of values (evaluative argument); probe, question and refine our understanding of values (valuational argument); and uncover underlying social ontologies (ontological argument). The contribution of ethnography to normative theory is distinguished from that of other forms of empirical research, and the dangers of perspectival absorption, bias and particularism are addressed.
This paper explores the transitional experiences and challenges faced by girls from the Torres Strait Islands when they leave individual communities to attend boarding school in regional Queensland. The paper presents original ethnographic research using a narrative enquiry approach, capturing stories as narrated by a broad cohort of girls from within these communities, both past and present students. The stories relayed in this article are integral to assisting parents and extended family, staff and administrators to better manage the transition process from one community to another. Identifying the cultural, social and academic challenges associated with the transition process will enable those involved in student support both within the community and the school system to do so with an enhanced awareness so that the students involved may be helped to negotiate this experience more easily. This paper will also inform, although not directly engaging with the topic, the ongoing debate about the advantages and disadvantages of girls leaving their communities to attend boarding school. It will also add weight to the call to improve current strategies to assist with the transition process.
Older people living in long-term facilities (nursing and residential homes providing 24-hour care) spend the majority of their time inactive, despite the known health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity and reduced time spent sedentary. In order to successfully embed interventions that aim to increase physical activity or reduce sedentary behaviour, it is necessary to understand the features of the care environment that influence residents’ routine patterns of movement. Drawing on an organisational perspective, this paper explores the structures and mechanisms that shaped different care practices concerning residents’ movement in two contrasting care homes in the north of England. This study adopted an ethnographic approach, using a combination of qualitative observations, informal conversations and interviews. A grounded theory approach to data analysis was adopted. The findings illustrate the importance of translating espoused values of care into tangible and acceptable care practices, systems of management, staff training and development, and the use of care planning in residents’ routine patterns of movement. Understanding how organisational factors shape routine movement among care home residents will help inform the development of embedded and sustainable interventions that enhance physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour. This study is part of a wider programme of research developing and testing a complex intervention, embedded within routine care, to reduce sedentary behaviour among care home residents.
Transfer from a private home to an assisted living facility has been pictured as a major change in an older person's life. Older people themselves tend to perceive the change as something eventual that breaks the bonds and familiarities of previous life. The aim of this article is to shed light on residents’ chances to reach affiliation (as Nussbaum defines it) in their new living surroundings, and thus adjust to that social environment. Based on ethnographical data gathered in a Finnish sheltered home in 2013–14, we studied residents’ affiliations through ruptures, namely residents’ perceived social isolation. Social isolation was found to be connected with two separate social worlds: the one inside the facility and the one outside. Social isolation resulted from different factors connected to the quality of social interaction with co-residents and the staff, daily routines of the institution and residents’ personal life histories. Also, residents’ older friends seemed to avoid visiting care facilities which caused perceived social isolation. This article deepens the insights into the perceived social isolation of assisted living and thus helps care providers to create new strategies to enable due affiliation for their residents.