Browsing by Subject "sosiaali- ja kulttuuriantropologia"

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  • Mölkänen, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This thesis is concerned with the rapid rearrangement of nature and the intensification of land use in rural northeastern Madagascar. I argue that despite intensive efforts of imposed environmental conservation based on notions of biodiversity loss and deforestation, the Tsimihety, a group of swiddeners and rice and vanilla farmers, claim that their environment is a good and viable place to live in. This thesis weaves together an ethnographic account of how the Tsimihety interact and intertwine with environmental conservation efforts and how they transform and are transformed by them in a broader context of commercial interests in land. By focusing on three main themes, place making, knowledge hierarchies and political-economic schemes and values, the thesis shows how Madagascar has been defined as a hot spot of biodiversity conservation with its unique endemic animal and plant species and how the Tsimihety, who actually live in these environments, make sense and live with dynamics that they define as ‘strange’ or foreign. The thesis challenges simplifying narratives of the Tsimihety as an indigenous people living close to nature without modern technology. “This is a good place” is a Tsimihety statement of a good way of living that cannot be reduced into political-economic and technological schemes and solutions creating, for instance, new livelihoods, such as ecotourism. For the Tsimihety good life evolves through movement between places and to new places, subsistence practices and nurture work as well as living with relatives (living and dead, animals and plants) and strangers. Especially, in funeral rituals, the Tsimihety maintain and negotiate these values and highlight their autonomy. Moreover, the thesis notes that the places made by the Tsimihety, for example fields, villages or tombs, are not merely maintained by the Tsimihety because they are important for Tsimihety identity, but place making is a continuous and prospective process through which the Tsimihety are also willing to incorporate new crops and technologies into their social worlds. More recent political-economic restructuring processes resulting in the creation of markets and elevated living costs as well as working with and around powerful others, such as environmental conservationists, tourists and vanilla buyers, raise moral and existential questions about how to live well with others in places that the Tsimihety claim as theirs.
  • Härkönen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Drawing on ethnographic material collected amongst racially mixed, lower-income Havana residents over 14 months of research, To Not Die Alone: Kinship, Love and Life Cycle in Contemporary Havana, Cuba , examines the interplay between family relations and the state. The research focuses on the gendered transformations taking place in the kinship system over the life course and the ways in which this transforms individuals relationship with the state. Cuban kinship conforms in many ways to the matrifocal system that for a long time has characterised family relations in the Caribbean. Research on the subject has traditionally highlighted the centrality of the mother-child connection, whilst other types of bonds have been seen as marginalised. Nevertheless, the dissertation shows that matrifocal kinship is more dynamic and versatile than this. Time transforms the kinship system both through historical changes and shifts in the reproductive cycle. The study reformulates an approach to matrifocality by analysing how the system changes over the life cycle through gendered transformations. Distinct points of the life cycle make different social relations emerge as significant and at certain moments, marginal relationships become emphasised. The thesis approaches these transformations through the notion of dialectics of care, characterising both individuals social relations and Cubans relationship with the state. Over the life cycle, social relations are created, reproduced and negotiated through gendered practices of reciprocal care, which are a way to express love. Women contribute nurturing care whilst men provide material care. Over the life course, such contributions vary between persons characterised by a dialectics of care, whereby exchanges become particularly important at certain moments, whereas at other times they may be completely missing. The state participates in the dialectics of care by providing individuals with contributions at specific moments of the life course, although current state contributions are highly deficient. The individual life cycle is simultaneously marked by a process of gendering, whereby through various meanings and practices, gender is constantly perfected, reproduced and emphasised as the central social division characterising the society. The dissertation argues that kinship forms a general idiom for conceptualising both social relations and political discourse in Cuba. Social relations are emotionally central to the life course but Cuba s post-Soviet period has also highlighted their pragmatic significance in managing everyday lives in the context of constantly diminishing state contributions. This carries gendered consequences that become reflected in the entire reproductive cycle. The importance of social relations to individual life course also defines Cuban understandings of body and personhood. Throughout the life cycle, the focus on social relations takes shape through the body, as the signs of other people s actions become visible in a person s appearance. The body thereby gives voice to the social order, reflecting its central meanings and values.
  • Eräsaari, Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The thesis looks at Fijian notions of indigeneity and alterity from a value-focused perspective, claiming that exchange value, semantic value and the evaluation of proper Fijian-ness can all be analysed as interlinked phenomena, observable in the context of a binary classification that divides all indigenous Fijians into land people and sea people . This dichotomy has occupied a central place in the anthropology of Fiji for more than 100 years, during which the dual classification into land people and sea people has been applied in reference to commoners and chiefs, indigenes and strangers, Melanesians and Polynesians, land owners and landless aristocracy, hosts and guests, equality and hierarchy, even humanity and divinity. This thesis adopts the viewpoint of Naloto village in the chiefdom of Verata, a polity that in most present-day accounts stands for Fiji s senior chiefly lineage, but where everyone are also considered equally original . In Naloto, the valuation of the traditional categories of land and sea appears to be reversed. In cosmological terms, this can be seen in the widespread acceptance of an origin myth that makes everyone originals , part of an original migration from Africa. This change also coincides with a large-scale reversal in symbolic value. Where foreign origin once constituted a principle upon which chiefs and valuables were both grounded, the reverse now occurs: valuables such as the highly prized whale teeth ( Fijian money ) are considered objects of local Fijian origin, just as the origin stories of people are concerned with their originality . The change can also be observed within the historical process which made all indigenous Fijians de facto landowners during the colonial era, and the way in which the Fijian concept connoting host and land owner (taukei) came to symbolize the entire ethnic group of indigenous Fijians vis-à-vis their cultural others, the Indo-Fijian population of Fiji. In the final analysis, the valuation of symbols, exchange media and what is considered proper Fijian custom are seen as complementary ways of addressing the place of strangers in 21st-century indigenous Fiji.
  • Hinkkanen, Reea (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This study Someone to Welcome you home: Infertility, medicines and the Sukuma-Nyamwezi , looks into the change in the cosmological ideology of the Sukuma-Nyamwezi of Tanzania and into the consequences of this change as expressed through cultural practices connected to female infertility. This analysis is based on 15 months of fieldwork in Isaka, in the Shinyanga area. In this area the birth rate is high and at the same time infertility is a problem for individual women. The attitudes connected to fertility and the attempts to control fertility provide a window onto social and cultural changes in the area. Even though the practices connected to fertility seem to be individualized the problem of individual women - the discourse surrounding fertility is concerned with higher cosmological levels. The traditional cosmology emphasized the centrality of the chief as the source of well-being. He was responsible for rain and the fertility of the land and, thus, for the well-being of the whole society. The holistic cosmology was hierarchical and the ritual practices connected to chiefship which dealt with the whole of the society were recursively applied at the lower levels of hierarchy, in the relationships between individuals. As on consequence of changes in the political system, the chiefship was legally abolished in the early years of Independence. However, the holistic ideology, which was the basis of the chiefship, did not disappear and instead acquired new forms. It is argued that in African societies the common efflorence of diviner-healers and witchcraft can be a consequence of the change in the relationship between the social reality and the cosmological ideology. In the Africanist research the increase in the numbers of diviner-healers and witchcraft is usually seen as a consequence of individualism and modernization. In this research, however, it is seen as an altered form of holism, as a consequence of which the hierarchical relations between women and men have changed. Because of this, the present-day practices connected to reproduction pay special attention to the control of women s sexuality.
  • Lounela, Anu (2009)
    "Contesting Forests and Power; Dispute, Violence and Negotiations in Central Java" is an ethnographic analysis of an ongoing forest land dispute and its negotiations in an upland forest village in the district of Wonosobo, Central Java. Rather than focusing only on the village site, this ethnography of global connections explores the inequalities of power in different negotiation arenas and how these power relations have had an effect on the dispute and efforts made to settle it. Today, national and transnational connections have an effect on how land disputes develop. This study argues that different cosmological and cultural orientations influence how the dispute and its negotiations have evolved. It draws its theoretical framework from legal and political anthropology by looking at the position of law in society, exploring state formation processes and issues of power. The dispute over state forest land is about a struggle over sovereignty which involves violence on the parts of different parties who maintain that they have a legitimate right to the state forest land. This anthropological study argues that this dispute and its negotiations reflect the plurality of laws in Java and Indonesia in a complex way. It shows that this dispute over forests and land in Java has deep historical roots that were revealed as the conflict emerged. Understanding land disputes in Java is important because of the enormous potential for conflicts over land and other natural resources throughout Indonesia. After the fall of President Suharto in 1998, disputes over access to state forest land emerged as a problem all over upland Java. As the New Order came to an end, forest cover on state forest lands in the Wonosobo district was largely destroyed. Disputes over access to land and forests took another turn after the decentralization effort in 1999, suggesting that decentralization does not necessarily contribute to the protection of forests. The dispute examined here is not unique, but, rather, this study attempts to shed light on forest-related conflicts all around upland Indonesia and on the ways in which differential power relations are reflected in these conflicts and the negotiation processes meant to resolve them.
  • Keisalo-Galván, Marianna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Cosmic Clowns: Convention, Invention, and Inversion in the Yaqui Easter Ritual is an ethnographic study of masked clown figures called Chapayekas. They represent Judas and the Roman soldiers in the Passion play that forms the narrative core of the Easter ritual of the Yaquis, an indigenous group in Sonora, Mexico. The study looks at how the Chapayeka is created as a ritual figure, how their performance is constructed, and what the part of the clown is in the dynamics of the ritual. The material was gathered over three periods of anthropological fieldwork in Cócorit, Sonora during Easter in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The Chapayeka masks portray foreigners, animals, mythological figures, and even figures from television and movies. They combine two kinds of performance: they perform set, conventional actions, and improvise and invent new ones. This creates dialectics of invention and convention that allow the figure to mediate between the ritual and its context and different kinds of beings within the Yaqui cosmology. The conventional side of their performance is a cycle of death and rebirth that is an inversion of the cycle of Jesus. Through invention, they separate themselves from the other performers and make themselves powerful. Alternation between the two modes enhances that power and brings it into the conventions of the ritual; ultimately the Chapayekas revitalize the entire ritual. The study finds that the clowns are extremely important to the continuity of both ritual and culture, as the combination of continuity and change, convention and invention, is what makes it possible to recreate the conventions of Yaqui culture as powerful and compelling in various contexts. Another factor is the prevalence of dialectical mediation, which relates concepts by defining them against each other as opposites, and makes it possible to cross a boundary while keeping it intact. Clowns embody and create dialectics to mediate boundaries while guarding against relativization, the disappearance of distinctions. The Chapayekas create and constitute boundaries between the self and other, microcosm and macrocosm, sacred and profane. The study argues that all clown and trickster figures are characterized by constantly alternating between invention and convention; this is what connects them to the collective and moral aspect of culture and, at the same time, makes them unpredictable and powerful. It is possible to do justice to the opposed aspects of these ambiguous and paradoxical figures by taking into account the different foundations and contextual effects of the different modes of symbolization.
  • Ådahl, Susanne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This is an ethnographic study, in the field of medical anthropology, of village life among farmers in southwest Finland. It is based on 12 months of field work conducted 2002-2003 in a coastal village. The study discusses how social and cultural change affects the life of farmers, how they experience it and how they act in order to deal with the it. Using social suffering as a methodological approach the study seeks to investigate how change is related to lived experiences, idioms of distress, and narratives. Its aim has been to draw a locally specific picture of what matters are at stake in the local moral world that these farmers inhabit, and how they emerge as creative actors within it. A central assumption made about change is that it is two-fold; both a constructive force which gives birth to something new, and also a process that brings about uncertainty regarding the future. Uncertainty is understood as an existential condition of human life that demands a response, both causing suffering and transforming it. The possibility for positive outcomes in the future enables one to understand this small suffering of everyday life both as a consequence of social change, which fragments and destroys, and as an answer to it - as something that is positively meaningful. Suffering is seen to engage individuals to ensure continuity, in spite of the odds, and to sustain hope regarding the future. When the fieldwork was initiated Finland had been a member of the European Union for seven years and farmers felt it had substantially impacted on their working conditions. They complained about the restrictions placed on their autonomy and that their knowledge was neither recognised, nor respected by the bureaucrats of the EU system. New regulations require them to work in a manner that is morally unacceptable to them and financial insecurity has become more prominent. All these changes indicate the potential loss of the home and of the ability to ensure continuity of the family farm. Although the study initially focused on getting a general picture of working conditions and the nature of farming life, during the course of the fieldwork there was repeated mention of a perceived high prevalence of cancer in the area. This cancer talk is replete with metaphors that reveal cultural meanings tied to the farming life and the core values of autonomy, endurance and permanence. It also forms the basis of a shared identity and a means of delivering a moral message about the fragmentation of the good life; the loss of control; and the invasion of the foreign. This thesis formed part of the research project Expressions of Suffering. Ethnographies of Illness Experiences in Contemporary Finnish Contexts funded by the Academy of Finland. It opens up a vital perspective on the multiplicity and variety of the experience of suffering and that it is particularly through the use of the ethnographic method that these experiences can be brought to light. Keywords: suffering, uncertainty, phenomenology, habitus, agency, cancer, farming
  • Autio, Petra (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Hard Custom, Hard Dance: Social Organisation, (Un)Differentiation and Notions of Power in a Tabiteuean Community, Southern Kiribati is an ethnographic study of a village community. This work analyses social organisation on the island of Tabiteuea in the Micronesian state of Kiribati, examining the intertwining of hierarchical and egalitarian traits, meanwhile bringing a new perspective to scholarly discussions of social differentiation by introducing the concept of undifferentiation to describe non-hierarchical social forms and practices. Particular attention is paid to local ideas concerning symbolic power, abstractly understood as the potency for social reproduction, but also examined in one of its forms; authority understood as the right to speak. The workings of social differentiation and undifferentiation in the village are specifically studied in two contexts connected by local notions of power: the meetinghouse institution (te maneaba) and traditional dancing (te mwaie). This dissertation is based on 11 months of anthropological fieldwork in 1999‒2000 in Kiribati and Fiji, with an emphasis on participant observation and the collection of oral tradition (narratives and songs). The questions are approached through three distinct but interrelated topics: (i) A key narrative of the community ‒ the story of an ancestor without descendants ‒ is presented and discussed, along with other narratives. (ii) The Kiribati meetinghouse institution, te maneaba, is considered in terms of oral tradition as well as present-day practices and customs. (iii) Kiribati dancing (te mwaie) is examined through a discussion of competing dance groups, followed by an extended case study of four dance events. In the course of this work the community of close to four hundred inhabitants is depicted as constructed primarily of clans and households, but also of churches, work co-operatives and dance groups, but also as a significant and valued social unit in itself, and a part of the wider island district. In these partly cross-cutting and overlapping social matrices, people are alternatingly organised by the distinct values and logic of differentiation and undifferentiation. At different levels of social integration and in different modes of social and discursive practice, there are heightened moments of differentiation, followed by active undifferentiation. The central notions concerning power and authority to emerge are, firstly, that in order to be valued and utilised, power needs to be controlled. Secondly, power is not allowed to centralize in the hands of one person or group for any long period of time. Thirdly, out of the permanent reach of people, power/authority is always, on the one hand, left outside the factual community and, on the other, vested in community, the social whole. Several forms of differentiation and undifferentiation emerge, but these appear to be systematically related. Social differentiation building on typically Austronesian complementary differences (such as male:female, elder:younger, autochtonous:allotochtonous) is valued, even if eventually restricted, whereas differentiation based on non-complementary differences (such as monetary wealth or level of education) is generally resisted, and/or is subsumed by the complementary distinctions. The concomitant forms of undifferentiation are likewise hierarchically organised. On the level of the society as a whole, undifferentiation means circumscribing and ultimately withholding social hierarchy. Potential hierarchy is both based on a combination of valued complementary differences between social groups and individuals, but also limited by virtue of the undoing of these differences; for example, in the dissolution of seniority (elder-younger) and gender (male-female) into sameness. Like the suspension of hierarchy, undifferentiation as transformation requires the recognition of pre-existing difference and does not mean devaluing the difference. This form of undifferentiation is ultimately encompassed by the first one, as the processes of the differentiation, whether transformed or not, are always halted. Finally, undifferentiation can mean the prevention of non-complementary differences between social groups or individuals. This form of undifferentiation, like the differentiation it works on, takes place on a lower level of societal ideology, as both the differences and their prevention are always encompassed by the complementary differences and their undoing. It is concluded that Southern Kiribati society be seen as a combination of a severely limited and decentralised hierarchy (differentiation) and of a tightly conditional and contextual (intra-category) equality (undifferentiation), and that it is distinctly characterised by an enduring tension between these contradicting social forms and cultural notions. With reference to the local notion of hardness used to characterise custom on this particular island as well as dance in general, it is argued in this work that in this Tabiteuean community some forms of differentiation are valued though strictly delimited or even undone, whereas other forms of differentiation are a perceived as a threat to community, necessitating pre-emptive imposition of undifferentiation. Power, though sought after and displayed - particularly in dancing - must always remain controlled.
  • Kajanus, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This study combines anthropology with migration studies to examine the increase of familial investment in daughters education as part of a wider transformation of the social and moral landscape of China. The focus is on urban single-child families who take on the substantial financial burden of sending their child abroad to study. The research involved 17 months of ethnographic fieldwork in China, as well as interviews in Europe and two survey studies. Chinese families have traditionally invested in sons education and future, as the patrilineal and patriarchal kinship principles have vested sons with the main responsibility of taking care of the ageing parents. The gendered family roles have been visible in the demographics of the Chinese migration flows. While men have taken the active role of migrating abroad to work and to study, women have played the supporting roles, being the left-behind wives or following male family members abroad. This pattern has changed as overseas study has become a major part of Chinese migration. Between 1978 and 2013 a staggering 2.6 million Chinese students went abroad to study. During this time, the proportion of women increased fivefold, and they now constitute half of the student migrant population. Be it a son or a daughter, most urban parents now do everything they can to support the education of their only child. Yet gender simultaneously operates on multiple scales. While a generation of young women have been educated in an environment that fosters individual achievement and competition, they must eventually find their place in the marriage and job markets that are highly gendered. Women are directed to certain, less demanding, career paths, and excessive success can stand in a way of marriage. The current student migrants also belong to the first generation who must make the transition from being the centre of the family to being the sacrificing parent. In this role, both women and men are expected to put the child's well-being and the future before their personal interests. The difference is that a father s contribution is more in line with his upbringing as the only child, than the mother s. It is the mothers who are expected to use time and energy to nurture and to educate the child, while a father s main contribution is through his personal career success. These dynamics create a paradoxical situation where women as daughters are supported to succeed but women as wives and mothers are not. Both female and male student migrants draw from their cosmopolitan experiences and symbolic resources, and their access to wider marriage and job markets, when negotiating this difficult position. Through their individual journeys of migration, they are at the forefront of the current transformation of the Chinese symbolic markets.
  • Tuominen, Pekka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study examines the moral qualities of urban space in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, looking particularly into how its transformation is understood as interaction between layers of historical consciousness and reproduction of its physical and symbolic boundaries. It focusses on how significant places in Istanbul carry different meanings to people, how the life-worlds of its neighbourhoods are separated from the urban sphere by contextually shifting boundaries and how the notions of public space and the spatial makeup of the city are rapidly changing, motivated by negotiations of appropriate values, appearances and practices. The research is based on a long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Beyoğlu, concentrating on the dynamics between the effective urban centre around Istiklal Street and Taksim Square and the impoverished neighbourhoods of Tarlabaşı and Tophane in its close proximity. The analysis focusses on moral ambiguities of everyday life; I discuss the spatially ordered sense of sociality, dealing with the notions of individual and community, freedom and tolerance, in relation to moral frameworks of Istanbul s urbanity coexisting in different spaces. I explore the shifts between morally appropriate practices across sociocultural boundaries to study how they demand reflective adaptation from the inhabitants to reproduce the mental mappings of the city with internalized, albeit often contradictory, notions of the proper rules of the conduct. These questions were extremely important in the everyday lives of my central informants, underemployed men living in Istanbul s inner-city neighbourhoods who were struggling to live moral lives in an environment characterized by discrimination and exclusion. This is also a study of Turkish modernity. I investigate the historical consciousness of modernity in present-day Istanbul as constant reorganization of historical trajectories, spatial arrangements, mentalities and senses of selfhood in the city. I draw from diverse historical materials, illustrating both official histories and vernacular accounts, to show how the debates over desired modernity at different periods are brought into the present and how they are expressed in the moral landscape of Istanbul. In my fieldwork I have concentrated on participant observation of everyday life, especially in situations and spaces where questions of morality arise. In Istanbul, there are countless struggles over urban space at different levels, fractured along often crosscutting lines of social difference: the issues of class, ethnicity, urbanity, gender and religion derive from encounters between people and assessment of their conduct. These are intimately linked with the extensive rearrangements of urban space in Istanbul that are redrawing the boundaries within the city. In the study, these transformations are studied as both material and embodied, in a way that acknowledges their historical specificities.
  • Leppänen, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This is an ethnographic study of the lived worlds of the keepers of small shops in a residential neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea. It outlines, discusses, and analyses the categories and conceptualizations of South Korean capitalism at the level of households, neighborhoods, and Korean society. These cultural categories were investigated through the neighborhood shopkeepers practices of work and reciprocal interaction as well as through the shopkeepers articulations of their lived experience. In South Korea, the keepers of small businesses have continued to be a large occupational category despite of societal and economic changes, occupying approximately one fourth of the population in active work force. In spite of that, these people, their livelihoods and their cultural and social worlds have rarely been in the focus of social science inquiry. The ethnographic field research for this study was conducted during a 14-month period between November 1998 and December 1999 and in three subsequent short visits to Korea and to the research neighborhood. The fieldwork was conducted during the aftermath of the Asian currency crisis, colloquially termed at the time as the IMF crisis, which highlighted the social and cultural circumstances of small businesskeeper in a specific way. The livelihoods of small-scale entrepreneurs became even more precarious than before; self-employment became an involuntary choice for many middle-class salaried employees who were laid off; and the cultural categories and concepts of society and economy South Korean capitalism were articulated more sharply than before. This study begins with an overview of the contemporary setting, the Korean society under the socially and economically painful outcomes of the economic crisis, and continues with an overview of relevant literature. After introducing the research area and the informants, I discuss the Korean notion of neighborhood, which incorporates both the notions of culturally valued Koreanness and deficiency in the sense of modernity and development. This study further analyses the ways in which the businesskeepers appropriate and reproduce the Korean ideas of men s and women s gender roles and spheres of work. As the appropriation of children s labor is conditional to intergenerational family trajectories which aim not to reproduce parents occupational status but to gain entry to salaried occupations via educational credentials, the work of a married couple is the most common organization of work in small businesses, to which the Korean ideas of family and kin continuity are not applied. While the lack of generational businesskeeping succession suggests that the proprietors mainly subscribe to the notions of familial status that emanate from the practices of the white-collar middle class, the cases of certain women shopkeepers show that their proprietorship and the ensuing economic standing in the family prompts and invites inversed interpretations and uses of common cultural notions of gender. After discussing and analyzing the concept of money and the cultural categorization of leisure and work, topics that emerged as very significant in the lived world of the shopkeepers, this study charts and analyses the categories of identification which the shopkeepers employ for their cultural and social locations and identities. Particular attention is paid to the idea of ordinary people (seomin), which shopkeepers are commonly considered to be most representative of, and which also sums up the ambivalence of neighborhood shopkeepers as a social category: they are not committed to familial reproduction and continuity of the business but aspire non-entrepreneurial careers for their children, while they occupy a significant position in the elaborations of culturally valued notions and ideologies defining Koreanness such as warmheartedness and sociability.
  • Louheranta, Olavi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The doctoral dissertation, entitled Siperiaa sanoiksi - uralilaisuutta teoiksi. Kai Donner poliittisena organisaattorina sekä tiedemiehenä antropologian näkökulmasta clarifies the early history of anthropological fieldwork and research in Siberia. The object of research is Kai Donner (1888-1935), fieldworker, explorer and researcher of Finno-Ugric languages, who made two expeditions to Siberia during 1911-1913 and 1914. Donner studied in Cambridge in 1909 under the guidance of James Frazer, A. C. Haddon and W. H. R. Rivers - and with Bronislaw Malinowski. After finishing his expeditions, Donner organized the enlistment of Finnish university students to receive military training in Germany. He was exiled and participated in the struggle for Finnish independence. After that, he organized military offensives in Russia and participated in domestic politics and policy in cooperation with C. G. E. Mannerheim. He also wrote four ethnographic descriptions on Siberia and worked with the Scandinavian Arctic areas researchers and Polar explorers. The results of this analysis can be sum up as follows: In the history of ethnographic research in Finland, it is possible to find two types of fieldwork tradition. The first tradition started from M. A. Castrén's explorations and research and the second one from August Ahlqvist's. Donner can be included in the first group with Castrén and Sakari Pälsi, unlike other contemporary philologists, or cultural researcher colleagues, which used the method of August Ahlqvist. Donner's holistic, lively and participant-observation based way of work is articulated in his writings two years before Malinowski published his thesis about modern fieldwork. Unfortunately, Donner didn't get the change to continue his researche because of the civil war in Finland, and due to the dogmatic position of E. N. Setälä. Donner's main work - the ethnohistorical Siberia - encloses his political and anthropological visions about a common and threatened Uralic nation under the pressure of Russian. The important items of his expeditions can be found in the area of cultural ecology, nutritional anthropology and fieldwork methods. It is also possible to prove that in his short stories from Siberia, there can be found some psychological factors that correlate his early life history.
  • Chan, Henry (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This dissertation concerns the Punan Vuhang, former hunter-gatherers who are now part-time farmers living in an area of remote rainforest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. It covers two themes: first, examining their methods of securing a livelihood in the rainforest, and second looking at their adaptation to a settled life and agriculture, and their response to rapid and large-scale commercial logging. This study engages the long-running debates among anthropologists and ecologists on whether recent hunting-gathering societies were able to survive in the tropical rainforest without dependence on farming societies for food resources. In the search for evidence, the study poses three questions: What food resources were available to rainforest hunter-gatherers? How did they hunt and gather these foods? How did they cope with periodic food shortages? In fashioning a life in the rainforest, the Punan Vuhang survived resource scarcity by developing adaptive strategies through intensive use of their knowledge of the forest and its resources. They also adopted social practices such as sharing and reciprocity, and resource tenure to sustain themselves without recourse to external sources of food. In the 1960s, the Punan Vuhang settled down in response to external influences arising in part from the Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation. This, in turn, initiated a series of processes with political, economic and religious implications. However, elements of the traditional economy have remained resilient as the people continue to hunt, fish and gather, and are able to farm on an individual basis, unlike neighboring shifting cultivators who need to cooperate with each other. At the beginning of the 21st century, the Punan Vuhang face a new challenge arising from the issue of rights in the context of the state and national law and large-scale commercial logging in their forest habitat. The future seems bleak as they face the social problems of alcoholism, declining leadership, and dependence on cash income and commodities from the market.
  • Herrmans, Isabell (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Towards the Breaking Day is an ethnography of belian, an exceptionally lively tradition of curing rituals performed by the Luangans, a politically marginalized population of swidden cultivators of Indonesian Borneo. The principal purpose of the study is to explore the significance of belian rituals in practice. It asks what belian rituals do socially, politically, and existentially for particular people in particular circumstances. Departing from conventional conceptions of rituals as ethereal liminal or insulated traditional domains, it demonstrates the importance of understanding rituals as emergent within their specific historical and social settings, and highlights the irreducibility of lived reality to epistemological certainty. Each chapter of the book represents an analysis of a concrete ritual performance, exemplifying a diversity of ritual genres, stylistic modalities and sensual ambiences, ranging from low-keyed, habitual affairs to drawn-out, crowd-seizing community rituals and innovative, montage-like cultural experiments. The study is based on eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in non-Christian Central Luangan communities in which ritual and everyday life are complexly intermixed. It is intended as a contribution to the anthropological study of ritual and to the ethnography of Borneo religion in which the study of shamanistic life rituals has been overshadowed by a long-standing fascination with death and funerary rites.
  • Aura, Siru (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Women and Marital Breakdown in South India: Reconstructing Homes, Bonds and Persons is an ethnographic analysis of the situation of divorced and separated women and their families in the South Indian city of Bangalore. The study is based on 16 months of anthropological fieldwork, i.e., participant observation and life history interviews among 50 divorced and separated women from different socio-religious backgrounds in their homes, in the women s organisations and in the Family Court. The study follows the divorced and separated women from their natal homes to their affinal homes through homelessness and legal battles to their reconstructed natal, affinal or single homes in order to find out what it means to be a person within hierarchical gender and kinship relations in South India. Marital breakdown impacts on kin relations and discloses the existing gender relations and power structure through its consequences. It makes the transformability of relational personhood as well as the transformability of relational society and culture visible. Although the study reveals the painful history of women s ill-treatment in marriage, family and kinship systems, it also demonstrates the women s rejection of the domination; and shows their ability to re-negotiate and promote changes not only to their own positions but to the whole hierarchical system as well. The study explores the divorced and separated women s manifold dilemmas, complicated legal battles, and endless arrangements when they have to struggle with the very practical problems of supporting themselves financially, finding and making a new home for themselves, and re-arranging relationships with their kin and friends. As marital breakdown fundamentally transforms the women s relational field, it forces them to recreate substitutive relations in a flexible way and, simultaneously, to re-construct themselves and their lives without a ready or positive cultural or behavioural template. This process reveals the agency of the divorced and separated women as well as shedding light on issues of gender and the cultural construction of the person in South India. This topical study explores the previously neglected subject of marital breakdown in India and shows the new meaning of kinship in South India.