Browsing by Subject "Ethnography"

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Now showing items 1-15 of 15
  • Alava, Henni Leena (Brill, 2017)
    Youth in a Globalizing World
    This chapter analyses how the public discourse of ‘lost youth’ in post-war Acholiland manifests and is engaged with, particularly among well-educated Catholic and Protestant youngsters and young adults in the region who considered themselves ‘not lost’. I argue that the discourse of ‘lostness’ emerged in relation to my young informants’ disillusioned views on formal politics and the Ugandan state, and suggest that in distinguishing themselves from those who are ‘lost’, and in suggesting solutions to ‘lostness’, young Catholics and Protestants were expressing a particular kind of political agency: not being lost was seen as a prerequisite to being able to contribute to societal development and, ultimately, to being a politically engaged citizen. Finally, I demonstrate that, although the discourse of ‘lostness’ expressed a moral-panic type concern with the perceived uncontrollability of youth (Diouf 2003), embodying desires for rather conservative societal transformations, the discourse was also employed as a tool of critique against the ruling government.
  • Kallio, Galina (2020)
    Questions of value are central to understanding alternative practices of food exchange. This study introduces a practice-based approach to value that challenges the dominant views, which capture value as either an input for or an outcome of practices of exchange (value as values, standards, or prices). Building on a longitudinal ethnographic study on food collectives, I show how value, rather than residing in something that people share, or in something that objects have, is an ideal target that continuously unfolds and evolves in action. I found that people organized their food collectives around pursuing three kinds of value-ideals, namely good food, good price and good community. These value-ideals became reproduced in food collectives through what I identified as valuing modes, by which people evaluated the goodness of food, prices and community. My analysis revealed that, while participating in food collectives in order to pursue their value-ideals, people were likely to have differing reasons for pursuing them and tended to attach different meanings to the same value-ideal. I argue that understanding how value as an ideal target is reproduced through assessing and assigning value (valuing modes) is essential in further explorations of the formation of value and in better understanding the dynamics of organizing alternative practices of food exchange.
  • Green, Sarah (2020)
    Description of ethnography from home in a time of Covid-19 lockdown. The article describes an encounter between the residents of Töölö in Helsinki and an unfolding drama involving swans in Töölö Bay. The aim is to give a sense of what ethnography might mean in a time of lockdown, as well as what home might mean.
  • Khachaturyan, Maria (2020)
    That demonstratives often have endophoric functions marking referents outside the physical space of interaction accessible through cognition, especially memory, is well known. However, these functions are often classified as independent from exophoric ones and are typically seen as secondary with respect to spatial deixis. However, data from multiple languages shows that cognitive access to referents functions alongside with perceptual access, including vision. Cognitive access is enabled by prior interactions and prior familiarity with the referents. As a result of such interactions, the interlocutors share a great deal of knowledge about the referents which allows them locate even invisible objects but also facilitates reference to objects in the interactive field. Thus, in some languages, exophoric uses are not opposed to, but become routinely merged with endophoric ones and perceptual access gets merged with cognitive access. I illustrate this idea throughout the paper by using first-hand data from Mano. Adding another argument in favor of viewing demonstrative reference as a social, interactive process, the Mano data pushes the idea of salience of non-spatial parameters further and emphasized the importance of long-term interactional history both for the choice of demonstratives in exophoric reference and for the encoded distinctions in the demonstrative paradigm.
  • Editorial 
    Chiritoiu, Ana; Douzina-Bakalaki, Phaedra (2020)
  • Alava, Henni Leena (Swedish Mission Council, 2016)
    What should development organisations take into account when considering whether to provide funding to a long-established church in the Global South, or to an organisation affiliated with such a church? Drawing on research in Northern Uganda, this article suggests that the key to addressing this question is in recognition of churches’ unique historical, social and religious embeddedness in local societies. From the point of view of donor organisations, this embeddedness is paradoxical: the same things that enable churches to ‘deliver development’ in an unusually effective and meaningful way, make churches appear as challenging grassroots partners for development. This is because the spiritual, historical and political embeddedness of churches makes the effects of their activities greater than of organisations lacking such embeddedness – whether those effects be ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. The notion of embeddedness draws attention to the need for donors to cease to think of churches in negative terms, as foreign impositions. The history of missionary churches is inseparably embroiled in the history of colonisation. However, the religious faiths and practices initially brought by missionaries to many parts of Africa are now an integral part of the life of many local adherents. Church members experience churches as their own – often much more so than they do the UN, NGOs, or secular discourses of human rights and development.
  • Lunabba, Harry Torsten (Routledge, 2018)
    Routledge Advances in Social Work
  • Heimo, Anne; Salmi-Niklander, Kirsti Anneli (2019)
    The article is based on our fieldwork among Finnish immigrant communities in Australia, Canada and the United States. Reading was highly valued, and in addition to publications brought and sent from Finland, Finnish communities were active publishers of books, newspapers and documents and maintained libraries. Today many of these activities take place in different forms on the Internet, blogs, Facebook and other social media and websites. For many, Finnish books and other forms of print continue to be cherished artefacts, although they no longer understand Finnish. In this article we focus on some specific issues we have encountered while studying the reading cultures of Finnish immigrant communities in North America and Australia. Our research material consists of interviews conducted among people of Finnish ancestry, life writings and other archival records as well as online and offline publications produced and maintained by these communities. We see that the study of immigrant reading cultures requires the applying of mixed methods: interviewing, the narrative analysis of various types of ‘memory texts’, participant observation, Internet and book ethnography and visual documentation. In immigrant communities fieldwork is often highly interactive, because the researcher is also expected to act as translator and interpreter of documents related to family and community history, which the members of the community themselves can no longer understand.
  • Kanniainen-Anttila, Piia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Tiivistelmä – Referat – Abstract This study aims to ”sense the sense of border(s) in Pykeijä”, a small fishery on the northeast boundary of Europe, through exploring how its inhabitants experience, narrate, confront, and sense the Norwegian-Russian and Norwegian-Finnish borders lying nearby their village. This work thus, contributes to the anthropology of borders in seeking to unravel the processual character of the idea of a border and to enhance the conceptual reflections about the symbolic functions and material impacts of borders on the everyday lives of the people living near and across them. Borders are understood here as parts of the wider historical, cultural, political, and epistemological entirety unfolding on a given border land at any given time. Thus, the development of Pykeijän sense of border(s) is followed through three distinct border logics, dominating the life on the border land in succession from the mid-19th century onwards. The Imperial border logic allowed for the current Pykeijän’s Finnish ancestors to move across the northern periphery and to settle on the cape of Pykeijä. The National border logic placed Pykeijäns under the intense Norwegianization policy, by which the forming Norwegian state strived to achieve a homogenous nation within its borders. In conclusion, Pykeijäns are also presented as people whose history is so inalienably entwined with the emergence and development of the nearby borders, that they could indicate if there was something happening with the border logics again – as is widely suggested across border studies. Methodologically this study adheres to the anthropology of borders, which emphasizes the importance of time-consuming fieldwork amongst border people and delving into their experiences and understandings. The data was gathered during three months of fieldwork in Pykeijä in summer 2017. It consists of 56 interviews with 39 Pykeijäns, as well as the understandings attained through extensive participant observation of the everyday life in Pykeijä. This data is treated essentially as narratives instead of realistic descriptions of the objective reality, to allow for an access to the informal means of understanding as well. Narrative analysis found a number of recurrent narrative clusters from the data, which were then worked into the main themes of this study – the historical changes in the meanings of borders, the materiality of borders (fences), borders as distinctions of separation (neighbours) and crossing the borders in a pursuit for a better life (greener grass). These themes are wrapped around two well-known proverbs, “Good fences make good neighbours” and “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, which capture many of the main findings of this study. Namely, that there are two highly antithetical borders lying nearby Pykeijä - different in almost every respect, but at the same time, both constituting equally ”good” and functional borders and a good neighbourhood. What makes up a good border must be a question of relativity, then. At times a good fence is one that prevents and halts, while sometimes it is best almost unnoticed. What is shown in this study, is that the sense of border(s) in Pykeijä highlights the importance of knowing one’s neighbours and how to best distinguish oneself from them, leaving room for whatever ambiguity and borderness is required to be able to live on and as a border. Also, since both of their borders are essentially “good fences, making good neighbours”, there is a sense of trust and safety about the Pykeijän sense of their borders. Because of this, the current European discourses on borders and border-crossers as threats, have not gained ground in Pykeijä, but are forcefully overpowered by a discourse of Pykeijäns’ own immigrant past. As such, this study serves to prove, that a history of trust and amity can abide on a border land, just as well as conflict and fear do.
  • Alava, Henni Leena (2017)
    Christian churches have played crucial but diverse roles in public debates over homosexuality in Africa. In contrast to the vocal and explicit homophobia witnessed in many Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches (PCCs), homosexuality has until recently been an overwhelmingly silenced issue in the Acholi region of Northern Uganda, and an almost complete non-issue in the local Catholic Church. This article suggests that while this silence in part relates to the temporal proximity of the Northern Ugandan war, the absence of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) activism in the region, and the hesitance of mainline churches to talk about sex, it is also embedded in what are considered to be customary Acholi understandings of sexuality. Offering an analysis of Acholi Catholic teaching on peace and the family, the article suggests that Catholicism has entrenched heteronormative patriarchy in Acholi society. However, as illustrated by the unpopularity of church weddings, the norms that govern sexuality are negotiated in the dynamic space between religion and what are contemporarily understood as ‘modern’ and ‘customary’ Acholi moral sensibilities. The article emphasizes the need for scholarship on religion and homosexuality to extend beyond PCCs and capital cities, and beyond the most explicit forms of public homophobia in Africa.
  • Sinicato, Alice (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The present thesis consists of an ethnographic study of the encounter between an NGO and the local practices and epistemologies where it operates. Specifically, the thesis provides insights to what extent the NGO La Maison sans frontières takes into consideration the local practices, traditions, knowledge, and overall ecology of the community of Kuma Tsamé Totsi, in Togo. The study mainly focuses on three aspects that emerged during the research: time, hygiene, and upbringing practices, highlighting both incongruences and meeting points between the goals and operations of the NGO and the local ontologies and epistemologies. Given that the local community and the NGO enter in dialogue and develop new practices together, this thesis adopts the metaphor of ‘bridge’ for the NGO, indicating to what extent the local practices have agency on its operation and vice versa. Overall, the meeting of these different realities seems to be permeated by acceptance and understanding, creating a unique practical and organizational system. The encounter between La Maison sans frontières and this Togolese community seems to have created a middle ground between different cultures, where peoples together strive to bridge the gap in cultural diversity. The research study relies on qualitative methodology, comprising fieldwork and structured and semi-structured interviews. Fieldnotes in the form of written texts, photographs and videos have been taken during fieldwork and analysed through a qualitative data analysis software.
  • From, Tuuli; Holm, Gunilla (2019)
    This article analyses the construction of linguistic value and recognition of linguistic resources in educational spaces in Finland, where Swedish is the second national language and in Sweden, where Finnish is one of five official minority languages. Drawing on ethnographic methods, critically informed notions of language policy and spatial theorisation, we argue that linguistic hierarchies created through language and education policies manifest themselves in the discursive construction of linguistic value in the everyday educational spaces. In Finland, the strong societal and political status of Swedish and the monolingual school institutions enable the recognition of language as a right and a resource but potentially present linguistic diversity as a problem within those spaces. In Sweden, the historical traces of a problem orientation towards Finnish language remain, despite the aimed improvements in educational language rights and the shifting orientation on Finnish being recognised as a resource in the market-oriented educational system. Pupils in both countries mostly considered language as a communicative resource in their everyday social spaces but the negotiation of the societal value of language and bilingualism was rather controversial. Discussing linguistic disadvantage in relation to educational spaces will bring new perspectives to language and minority policies in linguistically diverse societies.
  • Fernandez-Llamazares Onrubia, Alvaro; Cabeza-Jaimejuan, Maria Del Mar (2018)
    Several intergovernmental policy instruments, including the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO and the Convention on Biological Diversity, have proposed to develop integrated strategies to build bridges between biological and cultural diversity agendas. We contend that to succeed in this endeavor, it is crucial to link biocultural revitalization to conservation practice. Our hope with this review is to call attention to indigenous storytelling as an option worth adding to the repertoire of conservation practitioners who aim to: (1) link conservation actions to indigenous worldviews; (2) foster connections between indigenous peoples and their landscapes; (3) facilitate intergenerational transfer of indigenous knowledge; (4) support dialogue over conservation; and (5) promote local participation in conservation. Because indigenous stories are full of resonance, memory, and wisdom—in a footing that is structurally free of power imbalance between conservation practitioners and local communities—, we contend that they can be crucial to guide future efforts in biocultural conservation practice. Our review shows that deeper consideration and promotion of indigenous storytelling can lead to enhanced understanding of diverse values and perceptions around biodiversity, while offering a constructive approach for greater inclusion of indigenous peoples in conservation pursuits.
  • Lampinen, Antti Johannes (2017)
    The article studies the literary representation of subaltern religiosities in the context of Late Roman and Early Merovingian ecclesiastical writing in Gaul, and its relationship with Late Antique ideas about the characteristics of rural societies. By projecting an image of an atavistic rustic mass of religiously substandard commoners, who moreover were unable to participate constructively in most kinds of religious acculturation, the episcopal hierarchy of Gaul was able to tap into a powerful source of legitimacy for their privileges. These chains of utterances, examined through the acta of church councils and synods and compared with hagiographical writing, gained plausibility from their very participation in a literary tradition of ethnographicising expositions of subaltern religiosities. By studying techniques of vicarious memory ascription, knowledge ordering, and both intra- and inter-generic enrichment of ecclesiastical texts, I hope to provide some new angles into the Gallo-Roman and Merovingian ecclesiastical writing on lower-class religiosity, which is too often read as a straightforward reflection of conversion processes among the general population. It is suggested that in some historical contexts, socially unequal memory-ascriptions made within conversion narratives can usefully be examined through comparisons with colonial subaltern studies.
  • Hilppö, Jaakko; Stevens, Reed (2020)
    In an era of high-stakes testing and performance demands that regulate future educational opportunities and affect how schools are managed and funded, failure can easily become stigmatized in the practices of schooling. In turn, it can lead students to avoid activities in which they can be evaluated as failing. As researchers, if we wish to help students recognize the value of failure in the process of learning and to capitalize on failures as significant learning opportunities, we must find ways in which failure at school can be reframed as something productive, rather than punitive. In this study, we investigated how student experience in a FUSE Studio—an alternative infrastructure for learning in schools organized around principles of student choice and interest (Stevens et al., 2016)— support a different, more productive ‘use’ of failure. Our study is an investigation of how failure was framed in the FUSE Studio by students and teachers and whether these participants recognized learning from failure as a productive part of their FUSE Studio experience. Our analysis, which was based on a year-long video ethnography conducted in a typical FUSE Studio, revealed two distinct ways in which failure was framed. In addition, an analysis of participant interviews highlighted that the students and a facilitator viewed failure as a significant and productive part of their FUSE Studio experience. In sum, the study contributes to the existing literature on the value of failure for learning, by highlighting a way that failure can be framed as being productive for both students and teachers.