Evolving humanity, emerging worlds
Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013
New Directions in Anthropology
Location University Place 4.206
Date and Start Time 07 Aug, 2013 at 14:30
This panel brings together new international scholarship from across anthropology. We demonstrate how our different perspectives, looking both backwards and forwards in the temporality of human sociality, enable us to shed new light on emergent problems in the discipline.
Anthropology holds a uniquely reflexive position among studies of human life. Through awareness of the histories and legacies of our ancestors' the discipline develops and analyses past innovations in the light of current events, providing space to rethink contemporary issues in sociality. This panel demonstrates the collective breadth of Anthropology, mirroring the international union of disciplinary perspectives of the conference
This panel invites papers which address the social, physical and intellectual past, and re-examine classic anthropological themes through contemporary critical perspectives in order to develop and advance theoretical approaches.
In particular we will address critical approaches to change and the analytical value of process. We will conclude the session with an open discussion about the diverse approaches to temporality, theory and process which can motivate new directions in anthropological scholarship.
Discussant: Prof Bob Simpson (Durham University)
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Narratives about the nursing profession in Bangladesh: views and experiences of nurses working in Dhaka
The definition of nurses as the deliverers of care to the sick people could seem universal, but the ways in which this care is delivered vary according to the context. The tensions between this hegemonic definition and the current practices of nurses are especially visible Bangladesh.
Care of the sick has never been exclusive to nurses, and this makes difficult the delimitation of its professional boundaries. Unfortunately the history of nursing has been traditionally concentrated in Europe and North-America, and more research is needed about nursing in other continents. The analysis of the context in which nursing profession was born is crucial to understand the religious and moral connotations of the profession, many of which persisted until now. Research about nursing in Bangladesh has shown a big gap between the Westernized image of nursing profession transmitted in the academic and training institutions, and the actual practice of many nurses in the country. The reasons for that contradiction have already been studied and shown a complex interaction between historical, socioeconomic and cultural factors. The present research proposes a phenomenological study about the experiences of nurses working in different settings in Dhaka (where the highest concentration of Bangladeshi nurses can be found). The individual experiences of the informants will be contextualized in the broader Bangladeshi and international society. The reconstruction of their professional and personal histories can contribute to the comprehension of the changes that the profession has experienced in the last decades as well as its current situation, especially the apparent contradictions between different discursive levels and nurses' daily lives.
The rhetoric of mass-gifting: successful and sustainable giving to consumers in eastern Germany
Based on rhetoric culture theory and experience with product promoters in postsocialist eastern Germany, this paper considers the ways in which consumers in retail and wholesale stores are persuaded to accept mass-gifts (as conceptualised by Bird-David and Darr).
Based on rhetoric culture theory and experience with product promoters in postsocialist eastern Germany, this paper considers the ways in which consumers in retail and wholesale stores are persuaded to accept mass-gifts (as described by Bird-David and Darr). Taken from the perspective of promoters and their actions, and from that of a participant observer, it considers how mass-gifts are viewed by giver-promoters and the social and cognitive process which are involved in conceptualising giftee-consumers and how they should be addressed in order to gain a sale. Based on the physical environment of the product promoting space, the paper considers the persuasive narratives in moving consumers to accept gifts and to reciprocally buy the product being promoted. It suggests how the successful promoter survives in business in a highly precarious working environment and the role that mass-gifting and the performance of giving plays in this highly competitive field of employment.
'It was so strange when we heard music': towards an anthropological analysis of violence patterns, variations and sound paradoxes in Nazi death camps
This paper presents an anthropological analysis of the relationship between violence and music in Nazi death camps; based on testimonies of survivors, focuses and discusses violence patterns and variations connected with ‘the sound of music’, moral and symbolic violence encountered in that context.
In the course of History, there have been a countless number of cases that point to the complicity between music and violence, both at the level of international confrontation and at the level of interpersonal conflict. From physical violence to moral violence, music has been used as 'accompaniment', instrument or materialization of violence, drawing the line between different 'spaces' and 'identities' or rather reinforcing 'power games'. The daily repetitive relationship between both music and violence often arises in some testimonies of Holocaust survivors as one of the recurrent patterns they experienced in concentration and/or death camps.
Starting from an analysis of these testimonies, this paper aims at presenting and discussing paradoxes, patterns and variations of violence deriving from music. It also highlights several issues relating to how clearly violence manifested itself in that context and how the victims thought, behaved and reacted emotionally to it. The paper does not share the 'humanist', 'essentialist' or 'beneficial' points of view of violence; instead, decidedly opts for an approach that places the relationship between violence and music in a 'holistic whole' focusing both on the conceptual and reciprocal dynamics and the paradoxes which turn the SS using music in death camps into a materialization of violence and which turn the prisoners playing and/or listening to music in death camps into torture and humiliation; and also focusing on the definitions and meanings, as well as on the connections between patterns and variations of 'sound' violence with 'moral', 'verbal' or 'symbolic' instances of violence.
Prehistoric skeletons and demographic transition
Prehistoric skeletal populations and other evidence demonstrate that fertility increased as did mortality in the first demographic transition, ca 10,000 years ago, producing a very small increase in population growth accompanied by increased pathology and declining life expectancy.
Comparisons of archaeological skeletons before and after the Neolithic transition
from mobile hunter gatherers to sedentary farmers, ca 10,000 years ago, suggest increases in infection (periostitis and specific diseases such as tuberculosis) and malnutrition (e.g. iron deficiency anemia) as well as declining stature in most parts of the world. This is consistent with evident declines in the quality of diet (the transition from meat and mixed fresh vegetable diets to a diet of stored grains). It is also consistent with epidemiological expectations related to increased size and density of population since essentially all infectious organisms spread more easily with denser population, and sedentism produces a increase in garbage and feces accumulation.
. Compound "interest" or population growth rates are based on the widely estimated early sedentary world population of 10,000,000 ca.10,000 years ago and 500,000,000 at the time of Columbus. (Reasonable variations on these estimates do not significantly affect the outcome of the calculation.) The figures suggest that on average population growth rates increased from near zero among hunter gatherers before 10,000 BP to only slightly higher with the beginning of farming. This miniscule rate of growth indicates that fertility and mortality must have tracked each other very closely to maintain such a near-steady state.
Fertility increase is demonstrated in the comparison of age at death profiles of cemetery populations before and after the transition. Fertility increase
Anxious conversations: The role of rhetoric and imagery in defining success in dementia research.
This paper explores how scientists negotiate the anxious conversations involved in dementia research and public engagement. I discuss the rhetorical role of images in managing plural perceptions of scientific success and failure.
As advances in current scientific knowledge expand rather than resolve the complexity of developing effective dementia treatments, an elaborate and strategic use of image and imagery in public-science discourse becomes a tool for managing anxieties, and promoting future research support. Creative practices mobilize a reflexive and adaptive discourse affecting change in research practice.
Based on ethnographic research within a UK dementia research community, this paper explores scientists' rhetorical use of images to creatively manage anxieties emerging in the relationships between scientists, patients and publics in dementia research.
In the fierce competition for social, political and economic support for disease research, dementias are increasingly characterized as a leading public health issue of our time; placing researchers at the forefront of public debates on how to live with, understand and treat dementias.
The scientific community are keenly aware that success depends on attracting researchers, funding and participants, whilst at the same time managing the uncertainties around the outcomes, benefits and expectations of clinical research. These uncertainties manifest in anxious conversations between research stakeholders around the definition of success in the scientific process.
In managing these moments of tension creative interactions beyond the laboratory demonstrate how scientists' pragmatic engagement with society influences the future of clinical research. This reveals a dynamically evolving research community, whose continual reassessment and questioning of practice is central to the on-going evolution of scientific and social understanding of dementia research and treatment.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.