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Eva Toulouze and Nikolai Anisimov

Abstract

The authors had the opportunity, during their fieldwork, to attend spring rituals in Varkled-Böd’ya village. The week before the Great Day (Bydjynnal, coinciding with Orthodox Easter) is a dense ritual week: there are young people to be initiated, boys first and girls at the concluding ritual, who thus become adults; there are evil spirits to be chased away from the space of the living; there are kin relations to be reinforced through reciprocal visits, prayers and ritual deeds. These four rituals are the focus of this article, which provides an ethnographic account as well as a general analysis of the critical dimensions observed.

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Ágota Ábrán

Abstract

Part of the raw material accumulation for the medicinal plant industry in Romania is reliant on gathering plants from the so-called spontaneous flora. The imagery of medicinal plants played upon by medicinal plant product manufacturers is often abundant in visions of either wilderness or traditional peasant landscapes such as pastures. This article aims to present instead two different spaces where medicinal plants come from: wild pansy from within an oil seed rape cultivation, and elderflowers and nettles from the ruins of a former socialist orchard. These spaces of spontaneous flora highlight the process of capital’s appropriation or salvage of the ‘free’ reproductive labour (spontaneous growth) of weeds often at odds and against other capitalist processes. Moreover, salvaging or scrounging is done through the cheap labour of a family whose livelihood depends on work both inside and outside of this capitalist process. These places, therefore, highlight the tension between the spontaneous flora and scroungers on the ground and Nature with its ancestral peasants on the supermarket and nature shop shelves.

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Sergiu Novac

Abstract

This article explores how sustainability was staged in the context of EXPO 2000, the first and only world exhibition organized by Germany. The notion seemed to gain ground around the turn of the millennium in global political and policy circles, especially through such documents as the ‘Agenda 21’ and the ‘Millennium Development Goals’. These were also the main source of inspiration while organizing EXPO 2000, which, under the motto ‘Humankind, Nature, Technology’ claimed to put forward a radically different vision for the 21st century. However, throughout the paper I argue that sustainability ended up performing a quite different ideological function. In Germany, the staging of sustainability took place as an activation of expertize, meant to fix a crisis of the economy and to open up new grounds for capitalism’s search for profit, ultimately deepening the environmental crisis that it was meant to alleviate in the first place.

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Notes and Reviews

Cultural Trauma and Diversity in Museums: A Report from São Paulo

Kirsti Jõesalu and Ene Kõresaar

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Cornelia Mureşan

Abstract

Women are spending an ever longer part of their lives enrolled in education programs. A crucial question in this context is how motherhood can be reconciled and correlated with continued investment in human capital. A related question concerns the role the socioeconomic context plays in the education/family life balance. In the present study we account for the finding that a pregnancy resulting in a first birth usually triggers the termination of formal education, and, conversely, that the completion of education is often followed by a first birth. We use a simultaneous-hazard two-equation model, controlling for common potential but unobserved determinants. Relative to work already done on these matters, our study extends previous investigations to Eastern European countries which have not been adequately researched so far. To strengthen comparison, we have additionally included two Western European countries. This allowed us to assess the importance of political context. The results show that despite efforts to offer women the possibility of choosing both motherhood and being enrolled in education, the educational policies which were introduced in some Eastern European countries after the fall of communist political regimes could not counteract the negative effects of the transition to a market economy. In these formerly communist countries, the continuation of studies in parallel with childbearing and family formation has become more difficult.

Open access

Maria Martelli

Abstract

This article aims to explore the ways in which power structures the learning experience in high school, detailing what kind of cultures it creates and what practices it fosters. By interviewing students (currently enrolled in the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Cluj-Napoca) recalling their high school years, I can tap into their reflexivity regarding the experiences of being taught to and of learning, focusing especially on how these have become legitimated and have formed the subject. Drawing on Paulo Freire’s theory of the banking model and using a post-structuralist framework, the research intends to make visible a current account of institutionalization of learning. Finally, the research shows how pupils become subjects to be categorized according to their compliance to the programme’s requirements and how they might internalize legitimized forms of learning (such as memorizing for further testing) in detriment of others.

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Mara Mărginean

Abstract

This article examines the part played by foreign academic literature translated into Romanian during the 1970s. Dwelling on the activity of the Centre for the Study of Youth Problems (CSYP), it aims to highlight the national authorities’ efforts to mobilize youth for a new industrialization wave as part of an encompassing global trend of making the youth into an object of professionalized knowledge and policy. To this end, it analyses how the internationalization of expertise by transnational production and circulation of knowledge changed the Romanian scientific practices and recalibrated the experts’ visibility within the state’s decision-making processes. My contribution explores the shifting relationship between public housing and industrial growth as a foundation for socialist labour politics, the transnational emergence of a ‘rule of experts’, and the political interests around research on youths and their living conditions.

Open access

Madis Rennu, Liisa Tomasberg-Koidu and Art Leete

Abstract

On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted between 2007 and 2013, the authors analyse the communities of male artisans that have had the most significant impact on the development of contemporary Estonian handicraft. A wide range of artisans were surveyed in the course of this research, from professionals who earn a living from handicraft to amateurs, small enterprises and handicraft instructors. The authors concentrate on the motifs and background of different categories of handicraft agent. Details of handicraft practice such as mastering specific items, local peculiarities and materials used will be also explored. The analysis is predominantly based on the artisans’ views on proper ways of making handicraft items, their marketing strategies and the needs of developing their skills. The study* demonstrates that artisanal initiatives support the material reproduction of cultural locations through constant renewal of heritage ideology and practice.

Open access

Iulia Hurducaş

Abstract

Lefebvre’s 1970 prophecy of the total urbanisation of society has come true with the expansion of the urban into natural and rural territories. For Lefebvre, the question of nature is closed by its ‘steady, violent death’ (Lefebvre, 2003) and its replacement by a ‘second nature’ (Schmid, 2014; Smith, 2008). This closure accounts at an epistemic level, for the dominance of the urban (Krause, 2013; Brenner and Schmid, 2014). Far from being closed, the question of nature is renewed within the present conditions of planetary urbanisation, as the interiorised non-urban is ‘operationalised’ to sustain urban growth, thus making the non-city ‘an essential terrain of capitalist urbanisation’ (Brenner, 2016). In what follows, I present how the Romanian forest is operationalised as a territory of planetary urbanisation through forest management practices. Looking into the negotiations and manipulations on the ground provides a way to ‘pay attention’ (Stengers, 2010) to those practices that sort and select natural areas. In the face of the recorded disappearance of the forest, the effort of making visible the rationality of planning, and the challenges that are posed upon it inscribes itself within an ‘ethics of visibility’ (Roberts, 2012; Topalovic, 2016).