Volume 86, #3

Summer 2013


Imagineering Otherness: Anthropological Legacies in Contemporary Tourism

by Noel B. Salazar

phone: 202-994-3215  e-mail: ifer@gwu.edu


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Volume 86, #3 • Summer 2013




Imagineering Otherness: Anthropological Legacies in Contemporary Tourism

Noel B. Salazar, University of Leuven

ABSTRACT — The role of anthropology as an academic discipline that seeds tourism imaginaries across the globe is more extensive than generally acknowledged. In this article, I draw on ethnographic and archival research in Indonesia and Tanzania to examine critically the recycling of long-refuted ethnological ideas and scientific ideologies in contemporary tourism interpretation. A fine-grained analysis of local tour guide narratives and practices in two popular destinations, Yogyakarta and Arusha, illustrates empirically how outdated scholarly models, including anthropological ones, are strategically used to represent and reproduce places and peoples as authentically different and relatively static, seemingly untouched by extra-local influences. [Keywords: Tourism, tour guiding, imagination, knowledge, representation, Indonesia, Tanzania]


The Problem with Freedom: Homosexuality and Human Rights in Uganda

Lydia Boyd, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

ABSTRACT — The recent backlash against homosexuality in Uganda, culminating in the introduction of the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, has focused tremendous attention on the role religious activists have played in shaping Ugandan attitudes about sexuality. Drawing on long-term fieldwork among the Ugandan born-again Christians at the center of this controversy, I argue that anti-homosexual rhetoric is animated by something more than a parroting of American homophobia. Rather, it reflects a tension between two divergent frameworks for ethical personhood in Uganda, one related to the Ganda value of ekitiibwa or “respect/honor,” and the other based in a discourse of rights, autonomy, and “freedom.” The born-again rejection of a rights-based discourse is analyzed in relation to broader anxieties generated by a neoliberal emphasis on the autonomous, “empowered” individual during a period of growing inequality and economic and political dissatisfaction in Uganda. [Keywords: Homosexuality, Christianity, human rights, personhood, Uganda, Africa, ekitiibwa]


Image of a Secretary: A Metapragmatic Morality for Post-Soviet Capitalism

Susanne Cohen, University of Chicago

ABSTRACT — A prominent post-Soviet discourse on imidzh (image) advocates close attention to self-presentation as a means of reaching personal goals. Based on fieldwork in a St. Petersburg secretarial school, this article describes how discussions of secretarial imidzh countered anxieties about Russia’s “wild” version of neoliberal capitalism with a gendered morality that valorized “civilized” styles of market interaction. Rather than equating morality and resistance, I argue that people often work to endow capitalist practices with moral grounding. In particular, metapragmatic language about appropriate self-presentation and interaction styles is a key site for constituting moral relationships to capitalism. [Keywords: Postsocialism, Russia, neoliberalism, gender, morality, language ideology, work]


Predictions as Lies in Ceará, Brazil: The Intersection of Two Cultural Models

Karen Pennesi, University of Western Ontario

ABSTRACT — An examination of the interplay of cultural models of prediction and lie helps explain why climate forecasts are negatively evaluated by subsistence farmers in Ceará, Northeast Brazil. Analysis of linguistic differences between farmers and meteorologists reveals underlying conceptual differences that result in farmers interpreting the forecasts as false statements. Distrust of government, the unmet expectation of optimistic predictions, and the existence of alternative forecasts by traditional “rain prophets” create a context in which state meteorologists are called liars. Material context and emotions are shown to be crucial components of the models. [Keywords: Prediction, lie, cultural model, expert discourse, Northeast Brazil]


Sound Work: Music as Labor and the 1940s Recording Bans of the American Federation of Musicians

Marina Peterson, Ohio University

Twice in the 1940s, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) banned recording by its members. According to the union, the use of records on radio and in jukeboxes was replacing live performers, thus eliminating work for musicians. In an era of shifting federal policies and changing modalities of labor, the bans put sound at the center of a struggle between labor and corporate interests. The bans provide a case through which to explore the significance and multidimensionality of music as labor. As a case that is integral to, yet distinct from, histories of audio technology and intellectual property, the bans are an important yet overlooked moment in the formation of current configurations of sonic value. [Keywords: Music, labor, audio technology, radio, liberalism, United States]


Tambor de Crioula in Strange Places: The Travels of an Afro-Brazilian Play Form

Natasha Pravaz, Wilfrid Laurier University

ABSTRACT — This article intervenes in contemporary debates on the nature of cosmopolitanism and the production of hybrid cultural forms by drawing on first and second hand ethnographic materials on tambor de crioula, an Afro-Brazilian play form. Alternatively emphasizing local, global, and diasporic connections, I chronicle the travels of tambor from peasant villages to a first world metropolis, considering the practice’s engagement in ethno-racial struggle, spiritual actualization, improvisational pedagogy, and “exotic” performance as markers of cosmopolitan city life. I argue that while postcolonial desire for Otherness shapes Western consumption of transnational cultural goods, tambor offers resistant and rearticulatory forms of embodied emplacement and sociability that defy unidirectional interpretations. [Keywords: Afro-Brazilian music and dance, play, roda, cosmopolitanism, hybridity, postcolonial desire]


(Be)laboring Childhoods in Postville, Iowa

Jennifer F. Reynolds, University of South Carolina

ABSTRACT — By examining a flagrant case of “child” migrant labor in a meatpacking facility, this article addresses the cultural politics of global childhood. Conflicting constructions of childhood first emerged informally within kin and community networks. Community-based constructions were later overshadowed and delimited in a child labor trial that took place two years after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) raided Agriprocessors, the town’s major employer. I trace the shifting contours of cultural and legal battles over childhood and forms of citizenship that, in microcosm, speak to on-going debates over immigration and economic policies tying the United States to Guatemala. [Keywords: Childhood, child labor, citizenship, immigration, Mayas, Guatemala, meat processing]


Tightening the Screws: Autonomy, Collective Action, and Violence in Puerto Real During the Second Shipbuilding Restructuring

David Florido, University of Sevilla, Beltrán Roca, University of Cádiz and José Luis Molina, University of Cádiz

ABSTRACT — In 1982, the Spanish government passed the Shipbuilding Industry Restructuring Act. In the mid-1980s, conflicts occurred at shipyards throughout the Spanish state. This article focuses on workers’ resistance to shipbuilding restructuring in the shipyard of Puerto Real (Cádiz, Spain). We discuss the causes behind the singularity of this episode of workers resistance to restructuring in Puerto Real during the 1980s, which stands out because of the size of the conflict and the radicalism of its collective action. We also explore social perceptions of violence among the parties involved in the protest and analyze the different trade union models involved in the conflict. We conclude that there is a strong relationship between the autonomy of workers’ structures and the radicalism of their methods of collective action. [Keywords: Trade unionism, workers’ autonomy, violence, collective action, shipbuilding restructuring, shipyard, Spain]