Why do tribal genealogies matter in modern-day Saudi Arabia? What compels the strivers and climbers of the new Saudi Arabia to want to prove their authentic descent from one or another prestigious Arabian tribe? Of Sand or Soil looks at how genealogy and tribal belonging have informed the lives of past and present inhabitants of Saudi Arabia and how the Saudi government's tacit glorification of tribal origins has shaped the powerful development of the kingdom's genealogical culture. Nadav Samin presents the first extended biographical exploration of the major twentieth-century Saudi scholar ?amad al-J?sir, whose genealogical studies frame the story about belonging and identity in the modern kingdom. Samin examines the interplay between al-J?sir's genealogical project and his many hundreds of petitioners, mostly Saudis of nontribal or lower status origin who sought validation of their tribal roots in his genealogical texts. Investigating the Saudi relationship to this opaque, orally inscribed historical tradition, Samin considers the consequences of modern Saudi genealogical politics and how the most intimate anxieties of nontribal Saudis today are amplified by the governing strategies and kinship ideology of the Saudi state. Challenging the impression that Saudi culture is determined by puritanical religiosity or rentier economic principles, Of Sand or Soil shows how the exploration and establishment of tribal genealogies have become influential phenomena in contemporary Saudi society. Beyond Saudi Arabia, this book casts important new light on the interplay between kinship ideas, oral narrative, and state formation in rapidly changing societies.
What is life? What is water? What is sound? In Sounding the Limits of Life, anthropologist Stefan Helmreich investigates how contemporary scientists--biologists, oceanographers, and audio engineers--are redefining these crucial concepts. Life, water, and sound are phenomena at once empirical and abstract, material and formal, scientific and social. In the age of synthetic biology, rising sea levels, and new technologies of listening, these phenomena stretch toward their conceptual snapping points, breaching the boundaries between the natural, cultural, and virtual. Through examinations of the computational life sciences, marine biology, astrobiology, acoustics, and more, Helmreich follows scientists to the limits of these categories. Along the way, he offers critical accounts of such other-than-human entities as digital life forms, microbes, coral reefs, whales, seawater, extraterrestrials, tsunamis, seashells, and bionic cochlea. He develops a new notion of "sounding"--as investigating, fathoming, listening--to describe the form of inquiry appropriate for tracking meanings and practices of the biological, aquatic, and sonic in a time of global change and climate crisis. Sounding the Limits of Life shows that life, water, and sound no longer mean what they once did, and that what count as their essential natures are under dynamic revision.
Nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Northeast India, Darjeeling is synonymous with some of the finest and most expensive tea in the world. It is also home to a violent movement for regional autonomy that, like the tea industry, dates back to the days of colonial rule. In this nuanced ethnography, Sarah Besky narrates the lives of tea workers in Darjeeling. She explores how notions of fairness, value, and justice shifted with the rise of fair-trade practices and postcolonial separatist politics in the region. This is the first book to explore how fair-trade operates in the context of large-scale plantations. Readers in a variety of disciplines--anthropology, sociology, geography, environmental studies, and food studies--will gain a critical perspective on how plantation life is changing as Darjeeling struggles to reinvent its signature commodity for twenty-first-century consumers. The Darjeeling Distinction challenges fair-trade policy and practice, exposing how trade initiatives often fail to consider the larger environmental, historical, and sociopolitical forces that shape the lives of the people they intended to support.
Thousands of people from more than eighty countries have traveled to China since 2001 to undergo fetal cell transplantation. Galvanized by the potential of stem and fetal cells to regenerate damaged neurons and restore lost bodily functions, people grappling with paralysis and neurodegenerative disorders have ignored the warnings of doctors and scientists back home in order to stake their futures on a Chinese experiment. Biomedical Odysseys looks at why and how these individuals have entrusted their lives to Chinese neurosurgeons operating on the forefront of experimental medicine, in a world where technologies and risks move faster than laws can keep pace. Priscilla Song shows how cutting-edge medicine is not just about the latest advances in biomedical science but also encompasses transformations in online patient activism, surgical intervention, and borderline experiments in health care bureaucracy. Bringing together a decade of ethnographic research in hospital wards, laboratories, and online patient discussion forums, Song opens up important theoretical and methodological horizons in the anthropology of science, technology, and medicine. She illuminates how poignant journeys in search of fetal cell cures become tangled in complex webs of digital mediation, the entrepreneurial logics of postsocialist medicine, and fraught debates about the ethics of clinical experimentation. Using innovative methods to track the border-crossing quests of Chinese clinicians and their patients from around the world, Biomedical Odysseys is the first book to map the transnational life of fetal cell therapies.
Making Homes: Anthropology and Design is a strong addition to the emerging field of design anthropology. Based on the latest scholarship and practice in the social sciences as well as design, this interdisciplinary text introduces a new design ethnography which offers unique and original approaches to research and intervention in the home. Presenting a coherent theoretical and methodological framework for both ethnographers and designers, the authors examine 'hot' topics - ranging from movements and mobilities to im/material environments, to digital culture - and confront the challenges of a research and design environment which seeks to bring about the changes required for a sustainable, resilient, 'safe', and comfortable future. Written by leading experts in the field, the book draws on real-life examples from a wide range of international projects developed by the authors, other researchers, and designers. Illustrations throughout help to convey the methods and research visually. Readers will also have access to a related website which follows the authors' ongoing research and includes video and written narrative examples of ethnographic research in the home. Transforming current understandings of the home, this is an essential read for students and researchers in fields such as design, anthropology, human geography, sociology, and media and communication studies.
Turkey has leapt to international prominence as an economic and political powerhouse under its elected Muslim government, and is looked on by many as a model for other Muslim countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. In this book, Jenny White reveals how Turkish national identity and the meanings of Islam and secularism have undergone radical changes in today's Turkey, and asks whether the Turkish model should be viewed as a success story or a cautionary tale. This provocative book traces how Muslim nationalists blur the line between the secular and the Islamic, supporting globalization and political liberalism, yet remaining mired in authoritarianism, intolerance, and cultural norms hostile to minorities and women. In a new afterword, White analyzes the latest political developments, particularly the mass protests surrounding Gezi Park, their impact on Turkish political culture, and what they mean for the future.
What compels a person to strap a vest loaded with explosives onto his body and blow himself up in a crowded street? Scholars have answered this question by focusing on the pathology of the "terrorist mind" or the "brainwashing" practices of terrorist organizations. In Caravan of Martyrs, David Edwards argues that we need to understand the rise of suicide bombing in relation to the cultural beliefs and ritual practices associated with sacrifice. Before the war in Afghanistan began, the sacrificial killing of a sheep demonstrated a tribe's desire for peace. After the Soviet invasion of 1979, as thousands of people were killed, sacrifice took on new meanings. The dead were venerated as martyrs, but this informal conferral of status on the casualties of war soon became the foundation for a cult of martyrs exploited by political leaders for their own advantage. This first repurposing of the machinery of sacrifice set in motion a process of mutation that would lead nineteen Arabs who had received their training in Afghanistan to hijack airplanes on September 11 and that would in time transform what began as a cult of martyrs created by a small group of Afghan jihadis into the transnational scattering of suicide bombers that haunts our world today. Drawing on years of research in the region, Edwards traces the transformation of sacrifice using a wide range of sources, including the early poetry of jihad, illustrated martyr magazines, school primers and legal handbooks, martyr hagiographies, videos produced by suicide bombers, the manual of ritual instructions used by the 9/11 hijackers, and Facebook posts through which contemporary "Talifans" promote the virtues of self-destruction.
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Can forests think? Do dogs dream? In this astonishing book, Eduardo Kohn challenges the very foundations of anthropology, calling into question our central assumptions about what it means to be human - and thus distinct from all other life forms. Based on four years of fieldwork among the Runa of Ecuador's Upper Amazon, Eduardo Kohn draws on his rich ethnography to explore how Amazonians interact with the many creatures that inhabit one of the world's most complex ecosystems. Whether or not we recognize it, our anthropological tools hinge on those capacities that make us distinctly human. However, when we turn our ethnographic attention to how we relate to other kinds of beings, these tools (which have the effect of divorcing us from the rest of the world) break down. How Forests Think seizes on this breakdown as an opportunity. Avoiding reductionistic solutions, and without losing sight of how our lives and those of others are caught up in the moral webs we humans spin, this book skillfully fashions new kinds of conceptual tools from the strange and unexpected properties of the living world itself. In this groundbreaking work, Kohn takes anthropology in a new and exciting direction-one that offers a more capacious way to think about the world we share with other kinds of beings.
In this evocative ethnography, Omri Elisha examines the hopes, frustrations, and activist strategies of American evangelical Christians as they engage socially with local communities. Focusing on two Tennessee megachurches, "Moral Ambition" reaches beyond political controversies over issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and public prayer to highlight the ways that evangelicals at the grassroots of the Christian Right promote faith-based causes intended to improve the state of social welfare. This book shows how these ministries both help churchgoers embody religious virtues and create provocative new opportunities for evangelism on a public scale. Elisha challenges conventional views of U.S. evangelicalism as narrowly individualistic, elucidating instead the inherent contradictions that activists face in their efforts to reconcile religious conservatism with a renewed interest in compassion, poverty, racial justice, and urban revivalism.
This book explores the unintended consequences of compassion in the world of immigration politics. Miriam Ticktin focuses on France and its humanitarian immigration practices to argue that a politics based on care and protection can lead the state to view issues of immigration and asylum through a medical lens. Examining two 'regimes of care' - humanitarianism and the movement to stop violence against women - Ticktin asks what it means to permit the sick and sexually violated to cross borders while the impoverished cannot? She demonstrates how in an inhospitable immigration climate, unusual pathologies can become the means to residency papers, making conditions like HIV, cancer, and select experiences of sexual violence into distinct advantages for would-be migrants. Ticktin's analysis also indicts the inequalities forged by global capitalism that drive people to migrate, and the state practices that criminalize the majority of undocumented migrants at the expense of care for the exceptional few.
Sarajevo Under Siege offers a richly detailed account of the lived experiences of ordinary people in this multicultural city between 1992 and 1996, during the war in the former Yugoslavia. Moving beyond the shelling, snipers, and shortages, it documents the coping strategies people adopted and the creativity with which they responded to desperate circumstances. Ivana Macek, an anthropologist who grew up in the former Yugoslavia, argues that the division of Bosnians into antagonistic ethnonational groups was the result rather than the cause of the war, a view that was not only generally assumed by Americans and Western Europeans but also deliberately promoted by Serb, Croat, and Muslim nationalist politicians. Nationalist political leaders appealed to ethnoreligious loyalties and sowed mistrust between people who had previously coexisted peacefully in Sarajevo. Normality dissolved and relationships were reconstructed as individuals tried to ascertain who could be trusted. Over time, this ethnography shows, Sarajevans shifted from the shock they felt as civilians in a city under siege into a "soldier" way of thinking, siding with one group and blaming others for the war. Eventually, they became disillusioned with these simple rationales for suffering and adopted a "deserter" stance, trying to take moral responsibility for their own choices in spite of their powerless position. The coexistence of these contradictory views reflects the confusion Sarajevans felt in the midst of a chaotic war. Macek respects the subjectivity of her informants and gives Sarajevans' own words a dignity that is not always accorded the viewpoints of ordinary citizens. Combining scholarship on political violence with firsthand observation and telling insights, this book is of vital importance to people who seek to understand the dynamics of armed conflict along ethnonational lines both within and beyond Europe.
This book documents and critically analyses the photographs that helped to strengthen as well as bring down the eugenics movement. Using a large body of racial-type images and a variety of historical and archival sources, and concentrating mainly on developments in Britain, the USA and Nazi Germany, this book explains how photography, as the most powerful visual medium of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was vital to the eugenics movement's success -- not only did it allow eugenicists to identify the people with superior and inferior hereditary traits, but it helped publicise and lend scientific authority to eugenicists' racial theories. The author argues for a strong connection between the racial-type photographs that eugenicists created and the photographic images produced by nineteenth-century anthropologists and prison authorities, and how the photographic works of contemporary liberal anthropologists played a significant role in the eugenics movement's downfall. Besides adding to our knowledge of photography's crucial role in helping to authorise and implement some of the most controversial social policies of modem times, this book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the history of racism. The book looks at eugenics from the standpoint of its most significant cultural data -- racial-type photography, investigating the techniques, media forms, and styles of photography used by eugenicists, and relating these to their racial theories and their social policies and goals. It demonstrates how the visual archive was crucially constitutive of eugenic racial science because it helped make many of its concepts appear both intuitive as well as scientifically legitimate.
The first authoritative yet accessible guide to this broad and popular topic
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Sociology is the study of human and societal interaction, and because society is constantly changing, sociology will always remain a crucial and relevant subject. Sociology For Dummies helps you understand this complex field, serving as the ideal study guide both when you're deciding to take a class as well as when you are already participating in a course. * Provides a general overview of what sociology in as well as an in-depth look at some of the major concepts and theories * Offers examples of how sociology can be applied and its importance to everyday life
Avoiding jargon, Sociology For Dummies will get you up to speed on this widely studied topic in no time.
Anthropology originated as the study of 'primitive' cultures. But the notion of 'primitive' exposes presumptions of 'civilized' superiority and the right of the West to speak for 'less evolved' others. With the fall of Empire, anthropology became suspect and was torn by dissension from within. Did anthropology serve as a 'handmaiden to colonialism'? Is it a 'science' created by racism to prove racism? Can it aid communication between cultures, or does it reinforce our differences? "Introducing Anthropology" is a fascinating account of an uncertain human science seeking to transcend its unsavoury history. It traces the evolution of anthropology from its genesis in Ancient Greece to its varied forms in contemporary times. Anthropology's key concepts and methods are explained, and we are presented with such big-name anthropologists as Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Margaret Mead and Claude Levi-Strauss. The new varieties of self-critical and postmodern anthropologies are examined, and the leading question - of the impact of anthropology on non-Western cultures - is given centre-stage. "Introducing Anthropology" is lucid in its arguments, its good humour supported by apt and witty illustrations. This book offers a highly accessible invitation into anthropology.
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The first introductory guide to explore both biological and cultural approaches to the study of humanity, from the origin of our species, to universal traits, to the vast range of sacred rituals.. Covering key study topics, including communication and hierarchy, social and personal identity, rites of passage, and the impact of globalization, and exploring case studies on witchcraft in Salem and Sudan, the genetics of race, and our relationship with mobile phones, Hendry and Underdown bring anthropology to life.
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The Lonely Crowd is considered by many to be the most influential book of the twentieth century. Its now-classic analysis of the 'new middle class' in terms of inner-directed and other-directed social character opened exciting new dimensions in our understanding of the psychological, political, and economic problems that confront the individual in contemporary American society. The 1969 abridged and revised edition of the book is now reissued with a new foreword by Todd Gitlin that explains why the book is still relevant to our own era.
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If you want to know what anthropology is, look at what anthropologists do. This Very Short Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology combines an accessible account of some of the disciplines guiding principles and methodology with abundant examples and illustrations of anthropologists at work. Peter Just and John Monaghan begin by discussing anthropologys most important contributions to modern thought: its investigation of culture as a distinctively human characteristic, its doctrine of cultural relativism, and its methodology of fieldwork and ethnography. They then examine specific ways in which social and cultural anthropology have advanced our understanding of human society and culture, drawing on examples from their own fieldwork. The book ends with an assessment of anthropologys present position, and a look forward to its likely future. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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Introducing Levi-Strauss is a guide to the work of the great French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009). The book brilliantly traces the development and influence of Levis-Strauss' thought, from his early work on the function of the incest taboo to initiate an exchange of women between groups, to his identification of a timeless "wild" or "primitive" mode of thinking - a pensee sauvage - behind the processes of human culture. Accessibly written by Boris Wiseman and beautifully illustrated by Judy Groves, Introducing Levi-Strauss also explores the major contribution that Levi-Strauss made to contemporary aesthetic history - his work on American-Indian mythology provides a key insight into the way in which art itself comes into being. This is an essential introduction to a key thinker.
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Why do Jews win so many Nobel Prizes and Pulitzer Prizes? Why are Mormons running the business and finance sectors? Why do the children of even impoverished and poorly educated Chinese immigrants excel so remarkably at school? It may be taboo to say it, but some cultural groups starkly outperform others. The bestselling husband and wife team Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and Jed Rubenfeld, author of The Interpretation of Murder, reveal the three essential components of success - its hidden spurs, inner dynamics and its potentially damaging costs - showing how, ultimately, when properly understood and harnessed, the Triple Package can put anyone on their chosen path to success.
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The Forest People is an astonishingly intimate and life-enhancing account of daily life in a remote hunter-gatherer tribe in the African Congo and a classic of anthropology. For three years, Colin Turnbull lived with the Pygmies as their friend. He attended their hunting parties, lived in their nomadic camps, observed their quarrels and love affairs, their music and their ceremonies. First published in 1961, his portrayal of these people living in harmony with nature and without any modern technology made him one of the most famous intellectuals of the 1960s and 1970s. A ground-breaking work in its time, The Forest People remains a magnificent account of an earthly paradise and of a legendary and utterly delightful people. With a new foreword by Horatio Clare.
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Covers the latest competing theories in the field Get a handle on the fundamentals of biological and cultural anthropology When did the first civilizations arise? How many human languages exist? The answers are found in anthropology - and this friendly guide explains its concepts in clear detail. You'll see how anthropology developed as a science, what it tells us about our ancestors, and how it can help with some of the hot-button issues our world is facing today. Discover: How anthropologists learn about the past Humanity's earliest activities, from migration to civilization Why our language differs from other animal communication How to find a career in anthropology
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Ever since civilised society began, we have felt the need to classify, categorise and specialise. It can make things more efficient, and help give the leaders of any organisation a sense of confidence that they have the right people focusing on the right tasks. But it can also be catastrophic, leading to tunnel vision and tribalism. Most importantly it can create a structural fog, with the full picture of where an organisation is heading hidden from view. It is incredibly widespread: the chances are these 'silos' are rife in any organisation or profession, whether your business, or your local school or hospital. Across industries and cultures, as this brilliant and penetrating book shows, silos have the power to collapse companies and destabilise financial markets, yet they still dominate the workplace. They blind and confuse us, often making modern institutions act in risky, silly and damaging ways. Gillian Tett has spent years covering financial markets and business, but she's also a trained anthropologist, having completed a doctorate at Cambridge University and conducted field work in Tibet and Tajikistan. She's no stranger to questioning the assumptions and practices of a culture. Those in question - financial trading desks, urban police forces, surgical teams within medical clinics, software debuggers and consumer product engineers - have practices and rituals as ordered and intricate as those of any far-flung tribe. In The Silo Effect, she uses an anthropological lens to explore how individuals, teams and whole organisations often work in silos of thought, process and product. With examples drawn from a range of fascinating areas - the New York Fire Department and Facebook to the Bank of England and Sony - these narratives illustrate not just how foolishly people can behave when they are mastered by silos but also how the brightest institutions and individuals can master them. The Silo Effect is a sharp, visionary and inspiring work with the insight, prescriptions and power to remove our organisational blinders and transform the way we think for the better.
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The human propensity to take an ethical stance toward oneself and others is found in every known society, yet we also know that values taken for granted in one society can contradict those in another. Does ethical life arise from human nature itself? Is it a universal human trait? Or is it a product of one's cultural and historical context? Webb Keane offers a new approach to the empirical study of ethical life that reconciles these questions, showing how ethics arise at the intersection of human biology and social dynamics. Drawing on the latest findings in psychology, conversational interaction, ethnography, and history, Ethical Life takes readers from inner city America to Samoa and the Inuit Arctic to reveal how we are creatures of our biology as well as our history--and how our ethical lives are contingent on both. Keane looks at Melanesian theories of mind and the training of Buddhist monks, and discusses important social causes such as the British abolitionist movement and American feminism. He explores how styles of child rearing, notions of the person, and moral codes in different communities elaborate on certain basic human tendencies while suppressing or ignoring others. Certain to provoke debate, Ethical Life presents an entirely new way of thinking about ethics, morals, and the factors that shape them.
What is the work that miracles do in American Charismatic Evangelicalism? How can miracles be unanticipated and yet worked for? And finally, what do miracles tell us about other kinds of Christianity and even the category of religion? A Diagram for Fire engages with these questions in a detailed sociocultural ethnographic study of the Vineyard, an American Evangelical movement that originated in Southern California. The Vineyard is known worldwide for its intense musical forms of worship and for advocating the belief that all Christians can perform biblical-style miracles. Examining the miracle as both a strength and a challenge to institutional cohesion and human planning, this book situates the miracle as a fundamentally social means of producing change-surprise and the unexpected used to reimagine and reconfigure the will. Jon Bialecki shows how this configuration of the miraculous shapes typical Pentecostal and Charismatic religious practices as well as music, reading, economic choices, and conservative and progressive political imaginaries.
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