Cultural Reflections Volume 6/7: 2005

Cultural Reflections Volume 6/7: 2005
tural Reflections
Journal of the Graduate students of Anthropology
University of Victoria
Volume 6/7 ~ Fall 2005
tural Reflections
Journal of the Gradu
ate Students of Anthropol
University of Victoria
Department of Anthropology
Graduate Students
Managing Editors
Vanessa Di Cenzo
Andrea Gemmill
Cynthia Korpan
Michelle Rogers
Cover Photos
Andrea Gemmill
Anita Maberly
Anita Maberly
[email protected]
Publication of this issue of
tural Reflections
would not be possible without the generous financial
support of the following University of Victoria
Office of the Vice-President Research
Faculty of Graduate Studies
Faculty of Social Science
Department of Anthropology
Graduate Students’ Society
MISSION: Cultural Reflections is a peer-reviewed journal organized by anthropology graduate students.
We accept anthropologically-relevant submissions from all university and college students on Vancouver
Island, on a Call for Papers basis. Cultural Reflections strives to be a participatory publicaiton offering an
opportunity for students to participate fully in the peer-review, evaluation and publishing process. The
Editors seek scholarly contributions including articles, reviews, and field notes, covering diverse topics
and issues from all four anthropology sub-disciplines: archaeology, cultural, physical and linguistic anthropology.
Every attempt is made to publish Cultural Reflections (ISSN 1492-4293) annually. General enquiries
may be forwarded to: Managing Editor, Cultural Reflections, University of Victoria, Department of Anthropology, Cornett Bldg, Room 214, PO Box 3050, Stn CSC, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P5. Copyright 2005
by Univeversity of Victoria Department of Anthropology Graduate Students. All rights reserved. No part of
this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of Cultural Reflections, the Department of Anthropology, or the University of Victoria. All authors retaint he right to republish their material. The Editors assume responsibility for typographical errors.
About Cul
tural Reflections
Cultural Reflections is a peer review journal produced by the
graduate students in the Department of Anthropology at the
University of Victoria. Cultural Reflections covers diverse
topics and issues from all four anthropology sub-disciplines:
archaeology, cultural, physical and linguistic anthropology.
We invite submissions from all graduate students from
various disciplines at the University of Victoria, as well as
from undergraduate Anthropology students from Vancouver
Island colleges and universities.
Submissions for publication fall into the following categories:
- Papers/Articles: maximum 20 pages, double-spaced,
including notes and references.
- Reviews of books, conferences or speakers:
maximum 7 pages, double-spaced.
- “Field Notes” consisting of thoughts, experiences,
short articles, or diary snippets from field-work
experiences: Maximum 7 pages, double spaced.
- Image based work, in single or essay form: Include
captions and relevant text.
Editors of the publication are responsible for:
- soliciting submissions
- coordinating peer review process
- returning reviewed papers to the authors and
providing editorial feedback
- formatting finalized articles into journal form
- coordinating printing process
- mail out to Canadian Universities and subscribers
- managing Cultural Reflections account
- soliciting funding from University donors
And it’s a lot of fun!!
- 4 -
General Ar
Whose Home and Native Land
Edith Blades
Lost in Translation:
English in Japan
Dwayne Cover
Emancipatory Research: Diffusing Power Relations
Vanessa DiCenzo
Queer Science, Queer Archaeology:
Moving Beyond the Feminist Critique
Leah Getchell
Pharmaceutical Companies: Attempting to Change Ethnomedicine by
Supplanting Doctors
Sangeeta P
Twentieth Century Travels:
Tales of a Canadian Judoka
Michelle R
Fitting Indigenous Rights to Land and Resources into
International Human Rights Law: The Challenge of Advocating Within a
State-centred System
Jennifer Sankey
Field Notes
Primate Paradigms: In the Field with Ringtailed Lemurs
Andrea Gemmill
A Review of No Aging in India: Alzheimer’s, the Bad Family, and other
Modern Things
Goran Dokic
Visual Anthropology: A review of Working Images
Cynthia K
- 5 -
Welcome to the combined sixth/seventh issue of Cultural Reflections, a journal put together by the graduate students of the Department of Anthropology at the University of
Victoria. Since its inception in the Fall of 1997, Cultural Reflections has remained an
overwhelmingly successful project, receiving high praise from students, professors and
anthropology departments across the country. For those of you familiar with past issues of
our journal, we thank you for your continued interest and support, and we are confident
that you will be delighted by this year’s selections. To all of our new readers, we hope you
enjoy your first Cultural Reflections experience, and remember to look for us again next
This current issue of Cultural Reflections would not have been possible without
the dedication of the contributors and editors. Their commitment to the editorial process
was outstanding, as each participant had to anonymously review three other articles, a
process that served to strengthen and polish the pieces that now appear in this volume. We
commend this year’s authors for maintaining the high standards that have characterized
the previous journals. We would also like to extend a warm thank you to our generous
financial sponsors. These are individuals who recognize the importance and value of projects
that aim to combine student’s academic interests with the practical, professional skills
often required in the dissemination of information.
The team that was responsible for this issue of Cultural Reflections has benefited
tremendously from this opportunity of being involved in the production of a peer-reviewed
academic journal. Keeping in line with last year’s issue, we decided to solicit articles not
only from anthropology students, but from students in other academic departments who
believed their work to be of anthropological interest. This issue is truly a testament to the
incredible scope and diversity of contemporary anthropology.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue of Cultural Reflections!
The Cultural Reflections Team
Vanessa Dicenzo
Andrea Gemmill
Cynthia Korpan
Anita Maberly
Michelle Rogers
general article
Edith Blades
Whose Home and Native Land?
Indigenous peoples claim a particular bond to their ancestral land. This bond is the basis of their
claim to these territories and belief in their inalienable right to this land. The deep connection by
indigenous peoples to their land can be difficult to understand for some non-native people. This paper
reflects on the concept of native homeland by comparing the concept of home among indigenous peoples to the Jewish concept of the land of Israel. In both cases the connection to the land is cultural,
spiritual, economic, and environmental. Such parallel commitment to ancestral land leads to a reflexive consideration of the concept of homeland, which may provide insights to peoples of non-native
heritage on the depth and importance of indigenous land claims.
Biographical Statement
Edith Blades is a fourth year student at the University of Victoria where she majors in Anthropology
with a minor in Religious Studies. She was awarded the Bruce McKelvie Scholarship in 2004 and is coauthor of the paper, The Pedagogy of Machina sapiens and the Curriculum of Teacher Education, which
was presented at the 2004 Conference of the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. She studies the anthropology of religious experiences and cultural changes caused by emergent technologies.
When I die and am laid out in my coffin,
a small pillow of soil from my
homeland will be placed under my
head. This is a symbolic way of
fulfilling an ancient and traditional
desire of most Jews to be buried in their
homeland, the land of Israel. Although
my body will not literally be resting in
Israel, the fact that my head will rest
on Israeli soil is enough. The concept
of homeland is also applicable to the
land originally occupied by indigenous1
communities. In both cases, homeland
means an inalienable right to live in an
area of the world (International Year
of Indigenous Nations 2003). This concept
has become an opening for personal
reflection, which in turn has furthered my
understanding of land claims in process in
many regions of the world, and specifically
in North America. I have always given
mental ascent to the importance of
indigenous land claims but the concept
never touched me personally or
Margolis (2001) suggests a
reflexive rather than an analytical approach
to gain understanding of another culture.
Reflexivity encourages recognizing your
own biases by looking “increasingly
- 7 -
inwards when studying ‘other’ cultures”
anthropology breaks away from what
could be seen as the traditional “us and
them approach” towards an
identification with those of other
cultures and traditions (Margolis 2001).
As I reflected on my biases, I realized
the concept of homeland, as it relates
to indigenous peoples’ traditional land
and land claims, is similar to my
understanding of a Jewish homeland.
The term homeland specifically
encourages in me identification with,
rather than a separation from,
indigenous peoples who also claim a
homeland. This paper explores the
similarity and the differences between
homeland from a Jewish and indigenous
Hurt defines homeland as,
“places where people have bonded with
their landscapes in an uncommon
manner” (Hurt 2003:1). For this
bonding to have occurred people need
to have lived on the land long enough
to have adjusted to its environment, to
have marked that environment with
their cultural stamp, and to have
developed their identity with influences
from both the cultural landscape and the
environment. This bond with the
landscape results in a closely-knit
ethnic community that is partially
segregated, socially and spatially, from
other communities (Hurt 2003). This
segregation, most common during precontact years, serves to maintain the
communities’ unique forms of cultural
life and history. This historical and
cultural tie with the land and
environment also creates an emotional
loyalty to the homeland that includes
the desire of the community to defend
that space.
Chronicle echoes Hurt’s view noting
that “the bond between Indigenous
people and their homeland is spiritual,
economic and ancestral” (United
Nations Chronicle 1993:1). The spiritual
nature of this bond is often embedded in
the cultural landscape2 of the homeland.
According to the Chronicle, “Indigenous
people often follow a land-based religion
believing that when their land is taken
away so is the spirit that gives them life”
(1993:1). As a result, when an indigenous
person is denied access to their homeland
they may feel a separation and loss from
their traditional spirituality that is based
on a belief that religious power and spirit
flows from the land.
For indigenous people a
homeland contains areas that have
particular spiritual significance. As Hurt
explains, “The homeland’s cultural
landscape can be composed of private
sites…landmarks or shrines which
commemorate events central to the
historical narrative of the group” (Hurt
2003:3). These sites are not removable
from the land and in most indigenous
homelands these sites may even be
invisible to those outside the community.
For example Glavin retells a
traditional story told to him by Rosalie
Johnny, an Elder of the Nemiah Indian
Band located in the interior of British
Columbia. Johnny relates how a sacred
rock protects young women from pain
during their menstruation. According to the
tradition this rock is there as a result of a
girl transforming into a rock. Young
women who have begun menstruating take
a white cloth and stuff it into a crevice in
the rock saying, “Grandmother help me not
to get sick anymore” (Glavin 1992:31).
The passing down of this cultural
knowledge needs to take place at the rock;
it is at this site that the ritual is explained
by the Grandmother to her granddaughter,
thereby retaining the meaning and
relevance of this special place. Access to
the sacred rock preserves this ritual;
without access to this place this traditional
practice would likely become a story from
the past.
The connection between land
and religion is also reflected in the belief
- 8 -
that Mt. Tatlow, which towers over the
landscape of the Nemiah homeland,
traditionally “watches over the people
and takes care of them” (Glavin
1992:7). This sacred mountain is a
central figure in the spiritual lives of
the people of the Nemiah. Since these
sacred sites are essential to the
landscape, if anyone of the Nemiah
Indian Band moves to another location
that person may need to return to their
homeland for religious renewal or
practices associated with these sites.
This need to return is also part of the
definition of homeland. Hurt suggests
that “group members typically wish to
live in the homeland or visit regularly
if they live outside the homeland. Since
no other place can substitute for the
unique social and religious life found
within the homeland” (Hurt 2003:4).
For many indigenous peoples, notes
Cobbs, “the landscape is our church, a
cathedral. It is like a sacred building
to us” (Cobbs et al. 1996:79).
Closely related to religion is
the category of ancestry, which is also
part of the bond between indigenous
peoples and their land. Most
indigenous groups have stories of their
ancestry, including stories about how
the creator either led them to the land
or created them in a particular location.
For example, the Haida believe that
Raven found Haida ancestors in a
clamshell on the beach at Naikum on
Haida Gwaii (Native American
Creation Stories 2001). In this way,
ancestry is intimately part of the land,
part of the very identity of a people.
An Elder of the Pueblo peoples, living
in the South Western United States,
explained the bond of ancestry this
way: “The story of my people and the
story of this place are one single story
we are always joined together” (Cobbs
et al. 1996:76).
This intimate connection to
the land through religion and ancestry
includes the way people earn a living
from the land, or their cultural
economics. Often this economic
association is expressed in tribal
declarations or treaties. For example,
the people of the Nemiah state in their
declaration: “We will continue in
perpetuity: a) to have and exercise our
traditional rights of hunting, fishing,
trapping, gathering, and natural
resources, b) to carry on our traditional
ranching way of life” (Glavin 1992:4).
Indigenous peoples clearly
have their own homelands but these
lands, which nourish the people both
physically as well as spiritually, are
often not recognized by provincial
governments nor the Canadian federal
government. In an attempt to ensure no
further erosion of indigenous traditional
territory many indigenous leaders are
negotiating land settlements with the
provincial governments in their
territory. Elders from the Yukon
speaking with Julie Cruikshank, a
Canadian anthropologist, explain that
according to indigenous peoples,
“understanding of ownership rarely
includes formed boundaries and is
expressed in terms of knowledge
acquired during a lifetime” (Cruikshank
1998:16). This forming of permanent
boundaries is part of the land treaty
process which lays out what is and what
is not indigenous peoples’ homeland.
indigenous peoples’ knowledge of their
homeland gained over their lifetime is
intimately tied to their identity and an
emotional attachment to their land. This
attachment can sometimes lead to
confrontation as treaties are negotiated.
The provincial and federal governments
in Canada should legally recognize that
the defense of one’s homeland is also
part of being a people whose homeland
is threatened.
The concept of Israel has
many similarities with the concept of
homeland among many indigenous
peoples. In Judaism, both spirituality
and ancestry come from the land. Jaffee
- 9 -
writes that Israel “was permeated by a
sense that its land was the central point
at which the heavenly world, with its
divine beings, came into contact with
the world of human activity” (1997:28).
This direct contact with the divine
happened most commonly in the inner
most part of the Temple in Jerusalem,
called the Holy of Holies.3 This central
place in the Temple covered a spiritual
conduit to the land itself, a place
literally where heaven and earth meet.
Rabbinic sages argue that “the land
retained a holiness in its soil, which
distinguished it from any other spot on
earth” (Jaffee 1997:117). From
Judaism’s inception the land of Israel
has always been central to the Jewish
religion; as Jacobs argues, “Judaism has
centered not only on a people but on a
land -Eretz Yisrael, “The Land of
Israel” (1984:157). The patriarchs of the
Jewish religion-Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob-and Matriarchs-Sarah, Rebecca
and Leah-are buried in Israel, which is
one of the reasons many Jews believe
“that the very soil is sacred” (Jacobs
Despite conceptual similarities, the indigenous use of the concept
of homeland reflects a stronger bond
with the environment than the Jewish
concept of homeland. Martin writes,
“there is a difference between how
Native people and non-Natives feel
about cultural resources…I am referring
to the connection of the place to my
culture” (2001:2). This difference is
primarily due to the extent the land has
been developed. In Israel the land is
marked with ancient tombs, buildings,
roads, and sacred rocks. These
markings are meaningful to me since
they speak of a long relationship my
people have had with this land.
Indigenous people have all these signs
in their homelands too, but they are not
as evident to people with a non-native
worldview. An Elder from the Nemiah
Indian Band could walk a tourist around
the landscape and point out the markings
of the long and intimate past her people
have had with their land, but these
markings are mostly of the natural world.
In Israel the claim to the land is referenced
to sacred sites, many of which are of
human construction built by the people
who inhabited the homeland or ancient
building and burial sites. While these
significant places narrate the story of the
land, indigenous peoples significant places
are typically not marked by human
technology; it is the land itself that is
significant, not what is constructed by the
occupants of a particular homeland.
Chamberlin (2003) relates an
incident from Northwest British Columbia
that occurred during a meeting between a
indigenous community and some
government officials. The officials were
stating their claim to some of the
indigenous’ land for the provincial
government. The Elders at the meeting
were astonished by these relative
newcomers’ claims and finally one of the
Elders put what was bothering them into
a question: “If this is your land,” he asked,
“where are your stories?” (Chamberlin
2003:1). Then the Elder proceeded to tell
a story about the land in his own language.
Everyone at the meeting understood the
message. In a similar way stories connect
me to the land of Israel and remind me
that perhaps my understanding of
homeland is a matter of degree.
From a Jewish perspective the
stories I have told my children and will
tell my grandchildren are the stories that
tell them who we are as well as who we
are not. These stories are from the land of
Israel but also include stories from Europe
and even from Canada. Though I am
content to live in Canada I have the need
to visit the homeland of my faith, the land
that gave birth to my people and their
stories. It is this longing for the original
roots of a people that helps me to
appreciate the great depth and intensity
of the connection of indigenous peoples
- 10 -
For the purpose of this paper the term
“indigenous” will be used to refer to the
peoples who first occupied North
to their homeland and the desire to
preserve their ancestral territories.
I have argued in this paper that a people
and their homeland are inseparable; as
such removing access to the land of the
people who call the land home, results
in their economics, identity, and
spirituality being weakened. I have also
stated that we, who are not from the
homeland, may not see the sacred sites,
but that does not mean the land is
empty. For each indigenous group, their
land is full of sacred and significant
sites that can be learned and thus
identified through thousands of years
of oral history. But for indigenous
peoples, as with Jews, the entire
homeland is sacred and the source of
their sacred stories.
This degree of commonality
has allowed me to reflect on the idea
of a homeland giving me a new
perspective and understanding of the
idea of a ‘land claim’. My people have
identified with the land of Israel for
only 5000 years, a short span in
comparison to the sense of homeland
for indigenous peoples in North
America. Yet I find the term ‘homeland’
to be a potent way of understanding
one’s connection to a place. As nonnative I wanted to identify with the
struggle of many indigenous groups to
retain their traditional territories. I
found that reflecting on the word
‘homeland’ enabled me to understand
a little of what it might mean to a
indigenous person to have their
homeland denied to them or taken
away, and this has renewed my
understanding of what it must be like
for any people to be displaced from an
area of the world they call home.
An indigenous cultural landscape is “a
place valued by an Aboriginal group (or
groups) because of their long and
complex relationship with that land. It
expresses their unity with the natural
and spiritual environment. It embodies
their traditional knowledge of spirits,
places, land uses, and ecology. Material
remains of the association may be
prominent but will often be minimal or
absent” (Parks Canada 2005:1).
In Judaism there is only one Temple
and it is located in Jerusalem. This
singular temple was constructed in its
entirety, including location, based on
instructions believed to be received
directly from God.
References Cited
Chamberlin, J. E.
1993 If This is Your Land Where Are
Your Stories?. Online. Internet.
Accessed: 18 March 2004.
w w w. t h e g l o b e a n d m a i l . c o m /
s e r v l e t / s t o r y /
RT G A M . 2 0 0 4 1 2 3 1 . b k c h p
Cobbs, J., Flowers, C., Gardner, J. and Loomis,
1996“ Through Indian Eyes”.
Montreal: Reader’s Digest
Cruikshank, J.
1998 The social Life of Stories: narrative
and knowledge in the Yukon Territory. Vancouver:UBC Press
Glavin, T. and the People of the Nemiah Valley.
1992 Nemiah The Unconquered
Country. Vancouver: New Star
Hurt, D.
- 11 -
2003 “Defining American Homelands:
A Creek Nation Example”.
Journal of Cultural Geography
International Year of Indigenous Nations.
1993 “International Year of Indigenous
Nations”. Online. Internet.
Accessed: March 10 2004.
Available <
Jacobs, L.
1984 The Book of Jewish Belief. New
Jersey: Behrman House.
Jaffee. M.
1997 Early Judaism. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall.
Margolis, E.
2000 “Reflections on ‘Reflexivity’”.
Online. Internet. Accessed: 6
January 2004. Available <http://
Martin, R.
2001 “Native Connection to Place: Policy
and Play”. American Indian Quarterly
25(1): 1-6.
Native American Creation Stories
2001 “Native American Creation Stories”.
Online. Internet. Accessed: 21 June
Parks Canada
2005 “An Approach to Aboriginal Cultural
Landscapes”. Online. Internet.
Accessed: 21 June. Available <http://
United Nations Chronicle.
1993 “Preserving the Past, Providing a
Future: Land Claims and Self-rule”.
United Nations Chronicle 30(1): 1-3.
- 12 -
general article
Dwayne Cover
Lost in Translation
English in japan
From billboards to vending machines, mass media to education, English is virtually ubiquitous in
Japan. However, for many, Japan is still assumed to be a homogenous, monolingual entity. This paper
will begin with a look at the historical background of English in Japan and then move on to the contemporary setting. Two theories offering contrasting interpretations of the language contact phenomenon
will then be presented: the first views English as a hegemonic force colonizing the mental space of the
Japanese population; the second claims English has undergone a complex process of domestication
and that it is now ‘Japanese English’, created by the Japanese for the Japanese.
Biographical Statement
Dwayne is currently a graduate student in the Department of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Victoria. He spent the past six years teaching ESL/EFL – two years in Japan and four years in
Vancouver. His research interests are in the sociology of language and in second language acquisition.
On a bustling Friday night in downtown
Tokyo a young girl steps off the train.
She wears Nike shoes, Levi jeans, and
a Calvin Klein T-shirt. On her MP3
player the songs flip from Madonna to
Eminem to the Backstreet Boys. She
stops to buy a Starbuck’s coffee and read
a movie poster advertising the latest
Brad Pitt blockbuster to hit Japan.
Checking her watch, she sighs and reluctantly heads into her juku 1 class
where she will spend the next few gruelling hours working on her most troublesome subject: English.
This scene would not be unusual in Tokyo
or any other city in Japan. English has become a pervasive force reaching diverse
areas of Japanese society through media,
consumer products, and education. Although urban centres are more heavily imbued with English, rural areas receive similar advertising, movies, and television programs. This overwhelming presence has
been interpreted in a variety of manners from ally to antagonist to alien. This paper will focus upon two particular perspectives: the first, put forth by Tsuda Yukio2,
labelling English an externally imposed
form of foreign domination; and the sec- 13 -
ond, from the work of James Stanlaw,
suggesting that much of the English in
Japan is created by the Japanese for the
Framed over the historical progression of Japan’s relationship with the
English language, each of these perspectives appears indicative of a different
period. Early contact, from the Meiji
Restoration (from1868) to the American
Occupation (1945-52), may well be
identified with Tsuda’s “Hegemony of
English” argument (1997). Inequality
in trade relations and military power –
two factors intricately connected - allowed the English language to gain a
strong foothold in Japan However, the
more recent climate of language contact
reveals a significantly different terrain.
Alongside the rapid rise in economic
production and prosperity, the Japanese
have also enjoyed a shift in their relationship with English. As argued by
Stanlaw, English now appears to be imported and regulated within the country
rather than imposed externally. Thus the
idea of English ‘domestication’ may offer a more accurate illustration of the
complex patterns of language borrowing and employment seen today.
This paper will begin with a
brief overview of the history of English
in Japan and the present state of language contact within the country. It will
then move on to the contrasting arguments of Tsuda and Stanlaw, evaluating
both against a historical backdrop in the
concluding discussion.
From the arrival of Commodore
Perry in 1853 and the opening of trade relations between Japan and the West, American and British merchants carried English
and Anglo-based culture into the country.
Foreign goods, including cotton cloth, woollen fabric, sugar, and ironware, were in high
demand and various elements of Western
culture gained great notoriety - from an “interest in Western languages and Christianity, to Western art, apparels, hair style, and
even the eating of beef” (Hane 1992: 107).
As a result of the increase in contact and
trade, Japanese/English pidgins began to
appear around trading ports in Yokohama,
Kobe, and Nagasaki (Loveday 1986). English was viewed as a vehicle with which
Japan could “catch up to the West” and, in
1871, the language became part of the nationally regulated curriculum at both the
primary and middle school levels (Reesor
2002). Japan’s first officially recognized
post-secondary institutions adopted English
as the principle language of instruction. A
movement for national language reform under which the Japanese language would
have been completely abolished and replaced by English - also began and was
supported by a number of influential figures - most notably Mori Arinori, Japan’s
first Minister of Education (Kubota 1998;
Loveday 1996). Although this radical suggestion was never adopted, the early impact of English upon the country was evident.
Following this initial success, the
English language rode a tumultuous wave
through periods of fanatical popularity and
outright contempt through to the Second
World War. By the latter half of the 1880s
and into the 1890s, the rising tide of nationalism stemmed the influx of English,
but the language maintained a level of importance as Japan’s link - economically,
politically and scientifically - to much of
the outside world. Japanese became the
main medium of instruction in the school
system, but English remained an essential
part of the curricula (Loveday 1996). After the First World War, new forms of tech-
English in Japan
The English language is not a recent import to Japan. Although one might assume the influx began with the American Occupation following World War II,
or even more recently with the expanding global dominance of Anglo-based
media, the history of contact reaches
back much further.
- 14 -
nology (e.g. radio, film, and the gramophone) facilitated another wave of
Anglo-based culture into the country:
“Urban daily life during this period [the
1920s] was particularly characterized by
the enthusiastic following of Western
urban trends and fads such as the department store, the ice-cream parlour,
the Charleston, and jazz, not to mention fashion” (Loveday 1996:70). However, by the 1930s, a strong anti-Western sentiment dominated and a number
of steps were taken to purge the country of all things associated with the West.
The English language was a primary
focus of this movement and many terms
that had been in regular use were replaced by newly coined Japanese
equivalents (e.g. ‘record’ became
onban, ‘ski’ became sekkobu) (Loveday
1996:74). English language education
was severely restricted and in some
cases completely removed from public
and private institutions.
During the period of American
Occupation increased contact with foreigners (primarily U.S. soldiers) and
strong influence from American political advisors helped to re-establish the
influential position of the language.
‘English fever’ swept the country with
conversation classes filling up and English language textbooks becoming best
sellers (Loveday 1996). Many saw English as their primary link to internationalization and democratization - in much
the same way it had been envisioned
during early contact - and thus the quickest method by which to rebuild the country and regain a foothold in the global
economic order. During this period the
Japanese politician Ozaki Gakubo resurrected Mori Arinori’s call for English
to be adopted as a national language
(Kubota 1998; McVeigh 2004). Ozaki
made the same pitch on two occasions,
in 1947 and 1950, but was unsuccessful on both attempts.
Although the official and public acceptance of the language has con-
tinually fluctuated, English has been undeniably significant for the Japanese. The
long historical progression of this relationship has laid the foundation for the current
contact setting.
In contemporary Japanese society the English language is virtually ubiquitous. The
level of penetration has reached a point
where there is now debate as to whether or
not it is even possible to carry out an everyday conversation in Japanese without
employing a number of English-derived
terms. Stanlaw estimates that up to 10%
of daily vocabulary for Japanese speakers
(3000 to 5000 terms) is composed of English ‘loanwords’ (2004), while Honna suggests it may be as high as 13% (cited in
Tomoda 1999). In addition, 60-70% of new
lexical terms added annually to the Japanese dictionary are derived from English
(Hogan 2003). In many cases, English vocabulary is adopted alongside an existing
Japanese term with the same meaning; however, the English term is galvanized with a
“cool” or “modern” connotation that its
domestic counterpart does not enjoy
(Stanlaw 2004; Seaton 2001). Borrowing
has also occurred when there was a gap in
the Japanese lexicon - often in areas of new
discovery relating to science and technology. Specialized fields such as medicine,
engineering, and computer programming
heavily reflect this trend with gairaigo, or
foreign words, being heavily prevalent in
technical terminology (Tomoda 1999).
Media sources have been the most
dominant force in broadening and strengthening the presence of English in Japan.
There are now five national English-language newspapers circulating in the country, along with a large number of local and
special interest papers (Stanlaw 2004).
Foreign films, predominantly English, have
out-grossed domestic productions almost
every year for the past two decades (MPPAJ
2005). In 2003 and 2004, English singers
accounted for approximately half of the
- 15 -
‘Top 100’ songs at the most popular Tokyo radio station, and many of the Japanese singers had either their names and/
or song titles listed in English (FM Japan Ltd. 2005). The use of English
words and phrases within Japanese pop
songs is also very common (Stanlaw
2000, 2004). Although imported television programs have not yet seen the
same level of success, English-language
DVD and home video rentals are becoming increasingly popular.
English also maintains a prominent position in the education system.
As mentioned above, English has been
a part of the nationally regulated school
system for over a century. Although it
is not officially mandatory, the vast majority of students at the junior and senior high levels choose English as their
language elective to prepare for university entrance exams. Stanlaw estimates
almost all junior high students, at least
70% high school, and 100% of first and
second year university students are enrolled in English (2004). As of 2001,
the Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology
(MEXT) instituted English instruction
beginning at the elementary level. It is
worth noting that English language education in the Japanese public school system has been frequently criticized for
inefficiency and ineffectiveness (Gainey
and Andressen 2002; McVeigh 2004;
Reesor 2002, 2003); however, the government has recently taken steps to address this situation. In 2002, MEXT
released the ambitious Action Plan to
Cultivate Japanese with English Abilities, which called for 100 super English
high schools to be established, along
with more study abroad opportunities for
students, more foreign (i.e. native English speaking) instructors in Japanese
schools, and better training programs for
Japanese nationals teaching English
(MEXT 2003).
The continued emphasis placed
on English in education appears indica-
tive of its importance in the contemporary
setting. Political support has also been
demonstrated in revived attempts to have
English declared an official language in
Japan. As recently as 2000, the Prime
Minister’s Commission on Japan’s Goal in
the 21st Century floated the idea of elevating English to official status (Miyai 2000).
Although the proposed plan would not go
as far as Mori Arinori’s original recommendation to abolish Japanese more than a century before, it would grant official recognition within the country.
English appears as strong now as
in any other period in its history of contact
with Japan. For anyone who has spent even
a short time in the country, the actual level
of English language saturation is immediately evident. The second section of this
paper will examine two opposing perspectives on how this phenomenon has been
Imperialism vs. Domestication
The charge of linguistic imperialism has
closely followed the global spread of English. Phillipson’s benchmark work, entitled Linguistic Imperialism (1992), provides a systematic analysis of the ways in
which the interests of English-speaking
countries have been furthered via
“linguicism”. Phillipson defines linguicism
as “ideologies, structures, and practices
which are used to legitimate, effectuate, and
reproduce an unequal division of power and
resources (both material and immaterial)
between groups which are defined on the
basis of language” (1992:47). He then provides material examples for this argument
to support the claim that language is closely
tied to educational and cultural forms of
…commercial products of all
kinds, films, television serials
(the USA dominates telecommunications and satellite communications worldwide), advertising agencies abroad (the
- 16 -
majority of which are
culture…[and] ensuring the
place of the dominant language as a school subject or
even as the medium of
Although Phillipson was not the
first to posit this argument, he did succeed in articulating a more comprehensive theory which other scholars were
then able to utilize in specific settings.
Tsuda Yukio, now at the University of Tsukuba, adopted the theory put
forth by Phillipson and applied it to the
Japanese context. Tsuda is highly critical of English in Japan, which he interprets as a form of foreign imposed domination upon the local population. He
coined the term “Eigo-Shihai” - literally, “English domination”, but defined
by Tsuda as “the Hegemony of English”
- to describe the current contact situation (1997). However, Tsuda sees not
only linguistic and cultural oppression;
he goes even further to suggest that the
presence of the English language and
Western culture in Japan is engendering a “colonization of the mind” for the
Japanese (1997). This is portrayed as a
subtle process through which Westernization gradually alters the cultural values and beliefs of the local population,
until they surrender the ability to define their own cultural identity. This
particular definition, as well as many
aspects of the “Hegemony of English”,
falls quite firmly into the area of study
known as Nihonjinron - or “theory of
Japaneseness” literally translated
(Kubota 1998).
Nihonjinron is an ideology
which places the Japanese in a unique
position, culturally, linguistically, and
even biologically, by virtue of their geographic and historical isolation from
other peoples. This topic is heavily contested with supporters citing it as evidence of Japanese solidarity and critics
labelling it as ethnocentric racism (Dale
1986; Kubota 1998; McVeigh 2004; Miller
1982). His Hegemony argument definitely
identifies Tsuda with the former. He observes the relationship between the English language and the Japanese people with
the concept of Nihonjinron firmly in mind:
The Japanese are now suffering from the linguistic epidemic, which I call “Eigo-Byo”,
or “Anglomania”. Having a
firm belief in the notion of English as an international language, the Japanese are obsessed with learning and using
English to the point where they
glorify English, its culture and
speakers (Tsuda 1997:25).
For Tsuda, “Anglomania” has become most
evident through disturbing trends in education and mass media. He points to the
commodification of the English language,
in the form of popular advertising campaigns for Eikaiwa3, as a particularly insidious combination of the two (Tsuda
1994). If the approach toward English is
not quickly altered, Tsuda predicts dire consequences for both the Japanese language
and culture:
Since language constitutes the
core of cultural identity, the use
of English generates a division
especially in the personal identity of speakers of English as a
second language…Some people throw away mother tongues
and use English alone. The
question in this case is whether
they can or wish to continue to
maintain their cultural identity
(Tsuda 1997:25).
However, he does offer an alternative to
combat the waves of English washing over
Japan: “The Ecology of Language Paradigm” (Tsuda 1994).
The Ecology of Language calls for
global linguistic equality whereby international activities (i.e. conferences, sporting
events, etc.) would always be conducted in
the language of the host country, instead of
- 17 -
in English, as is often the case (Tsuda
1994). If all of the representatives were
not skilled in that particular language,
translators could be utilized to maintain
linguistic balance. In addition, cultural
mores would be followed in reference
to individuals or subjects relating to a
particular country - such as Japanese
name order (family name, given name)
or indigenous country name (e.g. “Japan” would be referred to as “Nihon”
or Finland as “Suomi”) - regardless of
the language being spoken (Tsuda 1994:
58-9). It is important to acknowledge
that Tsuda is not expecting the sudden
extrication of English from international
use, but is offering a process by which a
more balanced language environment
could be achieved.
Tsuda’s argument against the
domination of English in Japan finds
support with a number of Japanese
scholars (Nakamura and Oishi cited in
Kubota 1998) and politicians (McVeigh
2004; Miyai 2000), as well as in the
general public (Hogan 2003; Tomoda
1999). Many of his claims appear credible when focussing upon the ubiquitous
nature of English in the country; however, the presence of the language is only
half of the equation. The following section offers an alternative perspective for
much of the English that is currently
found in Japan.
or loanword since both suggest a subordinate relationship with the donor language;
the original term is considered to be proper,
while the new form is but a deviation
(Stanlaw 1992). Stanlaw advocates an approach which recognizes that Japanese
English terms may be English-inspired, but
have a form and meaning that are locally
determined. Moreover, the terms are exclusively intended for domestic use and
their meaning is often incomprehensible for
native English speakers. This process is
unquestionably governed domestically, directly refuting the argument that English
in Japan is externally imposed.
In support of this argument Stanlaw
illustrates the extremely complicated and
creative processes through which Japanese
English is created. He includes a wealth
of examples including truncation (e.g.
paso-kon for “personal computer” and
apaato for “apartment”), acronyzation (e.g.
oeru or O.L. for “office lady” and jaeru or
J.A.L. for “Japanese Airlines”), and metaphorical transfer (paapurin or purpling in
reference to “teenage motorcycle gangs who
wear purple scarves and cause trouble”)
(Stanlaw 2004: 16). He also offers some
of the made-in-Japan terms which, while
in ‘plain’ English, are not transparent to
native English speakers: saabisu (service)
for “a complimentary product for customers”, baikingu (Viking) for “a smorgasbord”, and baajin roodo (virgin road) for
“the church aisle the bride walks down”
(Stanlaw 2004:40-1). Many others cases
are offered in the course of Stanlaw’s analysis, however, they are too numerous to cover
in the course of this article. It is sufficient
to acknowledge that if English were being
externally imposed, these complex formations would not occur. More standardized
patterns of lexical borrowing and codeswitching would dominate. In addition,
newly created terms must be accepted and
understood by the local population. If this
process of domestic ratification did not occur, the terms would not survive.
Stanlaw also examines the wide
array of strategies for which English terms
James Stanlaw suggests that much of the
English in the country has undergone a
process of language “domestication” - a
term applied by Joseph Tobin in his edited work Re-Made in Japan (1982).
Stanlaw suggests that, “the English used
in Japan is not really borrowed, as is
commonly thought, but instead is motivated or ‘inspired’ by certain English
speakers or English linguistic forms; it
is a created-in-Japan variety for use by
Japanese in Japan” (2004:2). He argues
against the use of the terms borrowing
- 18 -
are employed by the Japanese. He acknowledges the most commonly cited instance - to project an association with the
West that is interpreted as ‘cool’ or ‘modern’ - and also provides a number of other
poignant illustrations. He analyzes various situations where English is used in
pop songs and contemporary poetry:
The English words used are
often creative and critical
Japanese (not American or
British) poetic devices which
allow songwriters, and even
some poets, an access to a
wider range of allusions, images, metaphors, and technical possibilities than is available from ‘purely’ Japanese
linguistic sources (Stanlaw
He looks at the use of English by women
in Japan as a form of sociolinguistic circumvention - expressing themselves in a
manner that would be considered inappropriate, or even impossible, in the Japanese language. There is also an in-depth
analysis of the Japanese colour nomenclature system in which English terms are
rapidly appearing to mirror, and occasionally to replace, the original Japanese
terms. The two parallel forms (e.g.
murasaki = purple, paapuru = purple)
have the same translated meaning, but
inspire a different sensory feeling for the
listener. These examples provide further
support for Stanlaw’s argument: “[the]
use of English is just one more very creative tool in the linguistic repertoire of the
Japanese language, used by Japanese people for their own communicative purposes” (2004:276-7).
As mentioned above, Stanlaw’s
use of the term “domestication” originated
from the work of Joseph Tobin. Tobin
acted as the primary editor for a collection of articles published as Re-Made in
Japan: Everyday Life and Consumer Taste
in a Changing Society. The authors
contributing to the collection, including
Millie R. Creighton, William W. Kelly,
and Nancy Rosenberger, presented a wide
range of topics in which foreign, predominantly Western, style was given a homegrown Japanese twist for domestic consumption. Some of the areas covered were
magazine advertising, fashion, and even the
Tango (Tobin 1982). Tobin suggested the
dominant theme throughout was “an ongoing creative synthesis of the exotic with the
familiar, the foreign with the domestic, the
modern with the traditional, the Western
with the Japanese” (Tobin 1982:4). He
went on to stress that the fusion of styles
seen in Japan was unquestionably “about
Japanese importation rather than Western
exportation” (Tobin 1982:4) – a sentiment
echoed in the work of James Stanlaw. This
particular pattern of domestication found
in such a broad range of topics offers strong
support for Stanlaw’s findings in the area
of language contact.
Tsuda’s ‘Hegemony paradigm’ views the
English language as an insidious Western
export eroding the cultural and linguistic
purity of the Japanese. The sheer volume
of English within Japan’s borders overwhelming the populace and corrupting their
mental space. This vastly oversimplifies
much of the language contact and language
creation occurring in Japan today. It also
gives little consideration to the role of the
Japanese in negotiating their relationship
with English.
The ‘Hegemony paradigm’ places
the domestic population in a passive position unable to resist or adapt to the realities of a fluid linguistic environment. This
reading appears more apt for the former relationship between English and Japan, from
early contact through to the post-Occupation period. Following the Meiji Restoration, Japan frantically attempted to industrialize with the English language as one
of the primary vehicles to this end. Japan
suffered in this subordinate position until
the rising nationalist zeal attempted to expel the language in the lead up to the Sec- 19 -
ond World War. After the war and
through the American Occupation, English again surged into the country.
Tsuda’s ‘Hegemony argument’ seems appropriate in describing this period. In
fact, much of the ‘Hegemony argument’
resurrects past images of Western Imperialism – a politically and emotionally
powerful reference for the Japanese –
which may be part of the author’s intent.
Kubota suggests that many scholars critical of English in Japan work toward generating awareness in the population and
inspiring greater linguistic equality rather
than toward eradicating English (1998).
This is supported by Tsuda’s work in the
‘Ecology of Language’. With the ‘Hegemony paradigm’, Tsuda may not be
presenting the most accurate depiction of
the current language contact environment, but rather attempting to maintain
vigilance for cultural and linguistic preservation within Japan.
The primary objective of
Stanlaw’s domestication work is to convey the active role that the Japanese play
in the importation of English. It focuses
on the cognizant manner in which English is moulded into a made-in-Japan
form that is only recognizable to the Japanese. Although Stanlaw’s argument may
not be applicable to all of the English
found in the country – since many surviving terms do have a historical origin –
it does offer a more holistic interpretation of the contemporary contact than that
of Tsuda. Furthermore, examples from
other fields of study regarding media
presentation, fashion, and the arts supports the assertion that the Japanese do
exert control over much of the foreign
content that enters the country. In a period when many areas of the world appear unable to resist the global expansion of Western culture and the English
language, Japan may be one of the best
positioned to maintain a level of balance
and, in some measure, resistance that others do not enjoy.
This paper began with a look at the history
of English in Japan. This then followed
onto an explanation of the current state of
language contact within the country. It was
argued that the overwhelming presence of
English has now become an integral and
inescapable part of Japanese life. Two alternative theories were then presented providing differing perspectives for evaluating the contact phenomenon. The first was
Tsuda’s Hegemony of English, which portrayed the language as a neo-colonial form
of foreign domination. Stanlaw’s language
domestication was presented as a counterargument suggesting the Japanese are, in
actuality, exercising much more control
over English found within the country.
Tsuda’s position was identified with the
earlier period of contact, while Stanlaw’s
appeared closer to the current state.
Juku are private “cram” schools attended
by junior high and high school students
seeking extra study time.
The scholar’s name, Tsuda Yukio, is expressed in its original (Japanese) cultural
order with the surname preceding the given
Eikaiwa are private English language
schools offering smaller class sizes (usually 1 to 10 learners) at different times
throughout the day to cater to homemakers
studying English as a hobby, children and
teenagers looking for extra study outside
of public school, and businesspeople intending to use English for travel. The largest chain schools are NOVA, GEOS, and
AEON, however hundreds of other independent schools are also in business.
Eikaiwa English has become a billion dollar a year industry in Japan. See Reesor
- 20 -
References Cited
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1986 The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness.
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Gainey, Peter and Curtis Andressen
2002 “The Japanese Education System:
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Hogan, Jackie
2003 “The Social Significance
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Kubota, Ryuko
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Inc. (MPPAJ)
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Accessed: 8 Jan. 2005. Available <http:/
Phillipson, Robert
1992 Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Reesor, Matthew
2002 “The Bear and the Honeycomb: A History of Japanese English Language
Policy.” NUCB Journal of Language,
Communication and Culture 4(1): 4152.
Reesor, Matthew
2003 “Japanese Attitudes to English: Towards
an Explanation of Poor Performance.”
NUCB Journal of Language, Communication and Culture 5(2):57-65.
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2001 “’Shampoo for Extra Damage’: Making
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English.” Japanese Forum 13(2): 233-47.
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2000 “‘Open Your File, Open Your Mind’:
Women, English, and changing roles in
Japanese pop music.” In Timothy Craig,
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Stanlaw, James
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- 21 -
general article
Vanessa DiCenzo
Emancipatory Research
Diffusing Power Relations
This paper discusses the topic of feminist methodology, with a focus on emancipatory research. The
ways in which emancipatory research serves to diffuse the power relations inherent in research projects
is addressed. This is accomplished by exploring such issues as ‘insider status’, questioning objectivity,
‘field’ construction, reflexivity, multivocality, interpretation and analysis of data, and political activism. Finally, issues to be aware of when conducting emancipatory research are discussed, as well as
the positioning of these methodologies within mainstream academia.
Biographical Statement
Vanessa DiCenzo is currently a Master of Arts student within the department of Anthropology at the
University of Victoria. Her research interests include alternative birthing methods, reproductive health,
feminist theory and method, as well as issues surrounding space and place.
research and composition. Narrative forms
of writing found within feminist research,
including biographical and autobiographical accounts, allow for the attraction of a
wider audience, thus increasing the possibilities for social change.
The following paper is a fictional
account of a graduate student’s encounter
with a published feminist anthropologist.
The topic of feminist methodology is discussed, with a focus on emancipatory research. The feminist anthropologist reveals
how emancipatory research serves to diffuse the power relations inherent in research projects, by discussing issues such
as ‘insider status’, questioning objectivity,
‘field’ construction,
Engaging with feminist theory and ideas
has encouraged me to think about writing anthropology in different ways. The
focus on narratives (Cruikshank 1997),
biographical, and autobiographical accounts (Ronit 2000) by some feminists,
as well as a piece of postmodern archaeology (Flannery 1982), has inspired me
to employ a new way of writing; a
dialogic account regarding emancipatory
For the most part, academia
tends to focus on, and give credence to,
objective, scientific methodologies and
ways of presenting material. However,
there is much to be learned by partaking
in subjective, inclusive, and reflexive
- 22 -
multivocality, interpretation and analysis of data, and political activism. Finally, issues to be aware of when conducting emancipatory research are discussed, as well as the positioning of these
methodologies within mainstream
ing, watching movies, ‘going for coffee’
with friends, and other assorted activities.
I know that the papers have to be written,
but maybe I feel that I’ll be better equipped
to deal with it the next day. Of course this
only serves to increase my stress, as I end
up with less time to accomplish my tasks.
I guess I just need that push to get things
At the end of one particularly
stressful term, I once again found myself
procrastinating. Classes had finished. With
one paper already written and handed in,
and just one more to go, I found myself
yearning for the summer break. A time
during which I could work a steady job
and not have to worry about reading articles, or writing papers, when I got home
at the end of the day. I also found myself
planning for the Fall semester, when I
would promise myself, as I do at the beginning of every semester, that I would
make a point of organizing my time more
efficiently. That way I would not be in the
position of scrambling to get everything
done at the end of term. So this particular
day, while I was mulling this over and trying to come up with an idea for my last
paper of the semester, I found myself at a
bar on the outskirts of town.
I had spent the day in the library
looking for sources on the topic of feminist methodology in anthropology, hoping
that an idea would come to me. Unfortunately, for every idea I had, I could only
find a limited number of sources. Sure the
computer told me that there were anywhere
from fifteen to forty-three assorted books
and articles on a particular topic, but once
I actually made my way to the stacks I
could find only, on average, a quarter of
the sources I had listed. Either the book
was missing, that particular journal volume hadn’t been ordered, or someone had
misplaced the source somewhere in the
library. As a result, I left the library frustrated and uninspired. At that point I definitely was not in the mood to tackle any
projects related to school. But, I also didn’t
really feel like calling any friends to see
Emancipatory Research: A Graduate
Student’s Account
Sometimes graduate school can get you
down. Now, it’s not that graduate students don’t enjoy being in school, or their
program, or even the classes that they
are taking – it’s the stress.
Classes have to be attended,
courses and research materials must be
read, teaching and marking responsibilities have to be met, and papers must be
written; all the while still partaking in
the rigors of daily life. Now, we’re not
all a bunch of complainers; most of us
take everything in stride, we did choose
to be here after all. It’s just that sometimes the stress can get to you, especially
at the end of every term, when multiple
final papers are due; usually within a
week of each other. Most of us handle
the stress, because we have to. We might
occasionally have to ask for extensions,
or stay up all night drinking coffee to
finish a paper, but things get done. Personally, I think I’ve been able to deal
with the stress of school, work, and life
constructively. Although, at the end of
every term I do find myself questioning
why exactly I torture myself like this. I
could have gone into business, or science, and had a nice comfortable office
job. But, I chose anthropology and all
the reading and paper writing that goes
along with it. I guess sometimes we have
to suffer a bit for the things we love.
So, like many graduate students,
when it starts getting close to the end of
term and I have a lot of work to do, I
find myself procrastinating. I think sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the
work ahead of me, so I find myself cook- 23 -
what they were up to, or going home to
my partner, who would tell me that everything would work out in the end, as he
always did. Since I wanted to get away
from everything, I headed out of the city
centre and ended up at the airport bar. I
found myself seated on a bar stool drinking a beer and hoping that a viable idea
would occur to me at some point during
my reprieve.
As I sat alone sulking and hoping for an epiphany, a woman sat down
beside me. After the bartender took her
order, she looked over and said, “You
seem upset”. I told her that I was stressed
because it was the end of the term and I
couldn’t seem to decide on a topic for
my last paper. She proceeded to ask me
what class this paper was for. I responded
that it was for a graduate seminar entitled “Feminist Research in Cultural Anthropology”. At this point I was getting
a little irritated, as I was not in the best
of moods and wanted to be left alone.
But, when she said, “Well, I consider
myself a feminist anthropologist, and I’d
be happy to help you come up with some
ideas,” my ears perked up.
“Well I’m interested in feminist
methodology, as I intend to take a feminist approach and stance when I conduct
fieldwork of my own” I said.
She asked, “Are there any particular methods that you are interested
To that I replied, “Yes, I’m interested in emancipatory forms of research, because I think the multivocality
it allows should be more visible in anthropology”.
She said, “There are many reasons why emancipatory research is important, not only to feminism, but to all
academic disciplines. It is especially
important in anthropology, where some
scholars pride themselves on speaking
for those who might not be able to speak
for themselves.”
“Yes, I know it’s important, and
I’ve read a few articles on the subject.
But, I can’t seem to find enough sources
that discuss that importance to facilitate
writing a 20 page paper”, I responded.
“If you look at the work of authors
such as Deborah D’Amico-Samuels
(1991), Teresa L. Ebert (1996), Sherry
Gorelick (1991), Kathleen Lynch (2000),
Bob Pease (2000), as well as others, you
will see that there are many reasons why it
is important for feminism and anthropology to engage in emancipatory types of research,” she said.
She went on to explain that these
reasons include the diffusion of power and
consciousness-raising (Ebert 1996), among
others, but that she felt that diffusion of
power was really the most important reason for conducting emancipatory research.
Then she explained, in detail, how this
power diffusion can be achieved in emancipatory research.
Diffusion of Power
She began with the issue of power in conducting research. She explained, “There is
always an inherent power relationship between the researcher and those being researched. One goal of feminist research is
to limit the power differentials that exist.
In anthropology we try to be objective and
stand back and observe which only increases the gulf between researcher and
subject. Even engaging in participant observation does not eliminate this power
disparity. If anthropologists are going to
go ‘home’ and take it upon themselves to
write about certain communities, and why
they do the things the do, the role of the
anthropologist as objective scientist and
power-holder is perpetuated”.
“So, emancipatory research is one
way to get around the power relationships
that exist when conducting research?” I
“In a way. Although we can never
totally eliminate the power relations inherent in conducting research, emancipatory
techniques are the most efficient ways we
have at present of trying to diffuse the
- 24 -
power. Think of it this way… if you are
an anthropologist and you live with a
group for a year or two, you interview
people, you take part in the activities in
which they engage, and basically experience the events of daily life with them,
and then write a descriptive or explanatory account of this group of people, what
purpose does that serve them? What purpose does it serve anyone? But, if anthropologists take part in “open-ended,
dialogically reciprocal” (Lather 1986:
269) discussions and co-operative writeups of data, then we can challenge the
“assumptions of mainstream social science practice” (Lynch 2000:82), elicit
social change, and alter the ways in
which we interpret and analyze data by
diffusing the power relations that exist
between researcher and researched,” she
“How, exactly, does emancipatory research serve to diffuse the power
relations that exist between a researcher
and those being researched?” I asked.
“Well, first I think we need to
look at the conception of power. Once
we possess that knowledge, then we will
be able to determine how we can begin
diffusing power. Michel Foucault has
been widely cited and referred to for his
definitions of power. He suggests that
power ‘must be understood in the first
instance as the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which
they operate and which constitute their
own organization’ (Foucault 1978: 92).
To elaborate, power exists in relationships, is exercised and not simply possessed, and is present at multiple points
(Fawcett and Featherstone 2000). Ebert
(1996:187) also points out that power is
‘marked by chance’, ‘not historically
determined’, ‘heterogeneous’, and ‘unstable’. Therefore by provoking resistance, power serves to undo itself (Ebert
1996). That is exactly what occurs when
emancipatory research is conducted,” she
“So, what you are saying is that
how power has been conceptualized has
led feminists, and feminist anthropologists
more specifically, to develop research
methods that serve to unravel those power
relations. In essence we have witnessed
power ‘provoke resistance’ and consequently unravel itself in the process.”
“Yes,” she answered.
“In what ways do you think emancipatory research helps to diffuse the
power that exists between the researcher
and the researched?” I asked.
“There are many techniques that
feminists can use to diffuse the power relations that exist in research. The most
prevalent ways visible in the literature
include realizing that women do not possess a kind of ‘insider status’, questioning objectivity, considering how ‘the field’
is constructed, being reflexive, including
multiple voices in all aspects of research,
altering the ways that we analyze and interpret data, and engaging in political activism,” she suggested.
“What do you mean by these techniques?” I asked.
“Let me explain,” she offered.
Then, my new acquaintance went
on to describe how feminist anthropologists use these methods in attempts to diffuse power.
Relations and ‘Insider Status’
“First, we need to take a look at
research relations if we want to determine
how feminist anthropologists can work to
diffuse power between them and those they
research. Staeheli and Lawson (1994:97)
argue that exploring relations is “necessary for understanding the substantive
processes that structure the social world
and so shape the process of feminist fieldwork”. In discussing the methods feminists
use in attempts to diffuse power, we elucidate the ways researchers put processes
in place to alter the social structure, and
hence, the process of fieldwork.
One dimension of the relations
between researcher and researched is the
notion of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’, or
‘othering’. For the most part, anthropolo- 25 -
gists are thought to be ‘outsiders’ when
they conduct fieldwork. Even instances
where we have what some would call
‘native anthropologists’ (those who study
their own communities) there is still the
disparity of ‘insider/outsider’. This is due
to many factors, including differences in
education, economic class, or gender, to
name a few. But, I’m getting off topic.
Where I was heading with this, is the
fact that status as an ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’ can alter the power relations between the researcher and the researched,” she explained.
“But, how does this pertain to
emancipatory research?” I asked.
“Well, as early as ten years ago,
the idea that women researchers had an
‘insider’s’ view when conducting research with other women was circulating amongst some scholars (Gilbert
1994). This idea is an essentialist view
that ignores “the various dimensions of
difference that distinguish women and
the issues with which they are concerned” (Staeheli and Lawson 1994:97).
The realization of this essentialism generated a sense of crisis for some, and
feminist researchers began to question
their relationships with the people,
places, and power structure they study
(Staeheli and Lawson 1994).
The move away from
essentializing women, and the questioning of relationships existing within research, lead to the imposition of techniques that some feminist anthropologists use to conduct emancipatory research,” my acquaintance explained.
ates a position of ‘knowing observer’ for
the researcher who is separated from the
individual(s) being researched and subjected to analysis, therefore reinforcing the
power of the researcher (Armstead 1995
Gilbert 1994).
Feminists questioned if objectivity was even possible, much less desirable
(Gilbert 1994). Some anthropologists, including myself, would argue that a researcher can never be totally objective
when conducting fieldwork (Armstead
1995, Bloom 1997, Gilbert 1994). As human beings, we all carry our own
worldviews with us, whether they are at a
conscious or subconscious level. Our gender, social or economic class, education,
ethnicity, or some other aspect of our life
may influence us. Due to these aspects that
make us different we can never be completely unbiased, and we, as researchers,
need to acknowledge this.
Feminists have recognized this
and argued against objectivity. It has also
been suggested that researchers ‘need to
see women as the subjects of, not objects
of our research’ (Gilbert 1994: 93). This
obviously has implications for not only
how feminist anthropologists conduct their
research, but how they interpret, analyze,
and present their data (Gilbert 1994). Gilbert (1994:90) has suggested that
‘[i]nstead of attempting to be a neutral,
distant researcher, feminists focused on the
mutuality of the research process;
intersubjectivity not objectivity and dialogues in place of monologues became the
goals.’ As a result of this methodological
change toward emancipatory types of research, the relationship between the researcher and the researched was made
obvious and open to debate (Gilbert 1994).
The feminist anthropologist was not assumed to be objective or value-free, nor
does she/he keep a distance from those
being researched (McDowell 1992:405).
Questioning the objective “nature
of social science research and the privileged voice of scientific discourse”, as
D’Amico-Samuels (1991:78) suggests, has
Questioning Objectivity
“One of these new techniques was the
questioning of objectivity. This was a big
move in anthropological research. Some
anthropologists like to think of themselves as scientists conducting objective
research. By attempting to be objective,
researchers are detaching themselves
from those being researched. This cre- 26 -
lead to the use of different methods when
conducting feminist research, with the
aim of empowering women,” she explained.
“Okay, so emancipatory research
is obviously one of the methods feminists
used to engage in more subjective research. You also talked about how questioning objectivity diffuses power relations. What other aspects of emancipatory research allow for this diffusion?” I
vacuum. Our life experiences, the way the
institutions within which we work are
structured, how funding is allocated etc.,
all influence the construction of ‘the field’.
We also need to collaborate with those we
research when attempting to construct our
field of research, which would be a part of
my extension of Katz’s suggestions,” she
“That being?” I asked.
“I would also argue that we need
to ‘blur the boundaries’ that are created
when fieldwork is conducted. We need to
step away from research projects that explore only a certain snippet of time occurring within a specified region. We must
keep in mind that events that took place
fifty years ago, for example, can and often
do affect the way people live their lives
today. Also, limiting ‘the field’ to a small
area serves to create a homogenous group.
People living around areas we are studying may have an effect on the people and
events anthropologists study, and that is
something that we also need to acknowledge.
Being aware that it is academics
who create ‘fields’, that space and time
boundaries give us a limited vision, and
that the creation of ‘fields’ is always done
through power relations, means we need
to focus on creating more inclusive
‘fields’,” she suggested.
“How do we do that?” I asked.
“We can do that by collaborating
with the people we wish to research. This
includes, but is not limited to, asking what
they think is important, how the community is affected by people living in other
areas and actions that take place elsewhere,
and questioning people who do not live
within the community of study. We should
also talk to people within and outside of
the community about important events that
took place in the past, and question them
concerning how the present might be
shaped by these occurrences. If we must
‘create a field’, this allows for those being
researched to be involved, therefore diffusing power, as well as giving a more in-
Constructing “the field”
“Feminists have started to think about
how we construct ‘the field’ (D’AmicoSamuels 1991, Katz 1994, Mascia-Lees
et al. 1989, Staeheli and Lawson 1994,
Trinh 1986-1987). In most anthropological research it is the researcher who defines ‘the field’. They are the ones who
get to draw the lines, and define what is
and is not part of their field of investigation (Katz 1994). In this way, ‘the field’
is an ideological concept. Artificial
boundaries of time and space are established, and differences within groups are
obscured (D’Amico-Samuels 1991). This
construction also serves to create a separation between those researching and
those being studied, as the research group
is thought to be fixed and homogenous,
and therefore distinct from the researcher
(Katz 1994, Staeheli and Lawson 1994).
Among others, Katz (1994) has
urged feminists to blur the boundaries
that exist between ‘the field’ and the
academy. She argues that ‘the field’ is
always constituted through sets of power
relations. It is academics who create
‘fields’ to study. We do this through our
projects and research accounts (Katz
1994, Mascia-Lees et. al. 1989, Staeheli
and Lawson 1994, Trinh 1986-1987).”
“How do we go about ‘blurring’
these boundaries?” I asked.
“I would suggest that anthropologists be mindful that the academy is part
of ‘the field’. We never do research in a
- 27 -
clusive view of the community,” she explained.
cal and/or methodological leanings need
to be altered, or changed completely. This
constant reflection allows for more pertinent questions to be asked, and for the researcher, those being studied, as well as
academia, to obtain more constructive and
useful information through the research
It is also imperative that researchers ‘retain an awareness of the importance
of other people’s definitions and
understandings of theirs’ (Lynch 2000: 9091). Encompassing reflexivity allows researchers to include multiple voices in their
projects. We will talk about multivocality
a little later. In terms of reflexivity, it is
important for researchers to take into account, and fully understand, the research
group’s definitions and conceptualizations.
To exclude this knowledge could lead to
misunderstandings and misrepresentations. To avoid further misunderstandings,
it is crucial that the researcher be confident that members of the community of
study understand her/his definitions and
understanding of concepts, events etc. Finally, researchers should outline their use
of concepts and/or definitions in written
accounts to elicit accurate comprehension
from the academic community,” she said.
“Another important way that
feminist researchers attempt to diffuse
the power relations between themselves
and those they study is by maintaining a
level of reflexivity. Sandra Harding
(1987) argues that a conscious reflexivity places the researcher and the researched on equal footing. This is accomplished by researchers being aware of
and disclosing “their own histories, values, and assumptions that they bring into
the field” (Nast 1994:59) when conducting research, as well as when interpreting, analyzing, and reporting their results
(Bloom 1997). This is very similar to the
issues surrounding objectivity that we
just discussed. We can never be entirely
objective so we need to acknowledge that
fact, not only within ourselves when doing research, but also to those we study
and those who read our written accounts.
Not only does this consciousness serve
to decrease the sense that researchers are
“neutral, objective observers” (Bloom
1997:112), but it also increases awareness of how knowledge is produced in
the researcher/researched relationship,
where dynamics of power and
positionality are at play. This introspection that researchers take part in can also
lead to new research questions and/or
new hypotheses (England 1994).”
“This seems very similar to the
notion of questioning objectivity that we
discussed earlier, as you said. How is
reflexivity different?” I asked.
“Well, not only does reflexivity
encourage the awareness of the researcher’s biases, it also promotes the continuous analysis of the theoretical and methodological standpoints taken by the researcher (Lynch 2000). As relationships
are formed and more is learned about the
community being studied, a researcher
may find that his/her particular theoreti-
“I think that we need to talk about
multivocality as well,” she suggested.
“I hear a lot about multivocality,
and that researchers need to give voice to
other points of view. But I question how
often anthropologists actually take the interpretations of other people, namely the
people they study, into account,” I said.
“Recognizing, and incorporating,
other worldviews into social science research might not be general practice as of
yet, but in feminism, and especially feminist anthropology, I think that it is fairly
common,” she said.
“How do feminist anthropologists
go about including other voices in the research they conduct?” I asked.
- 28 -
“Feminists began by thinking of
fieldwork as a dialogical process occurring between the researcher and those
being researched (Acker et. al. 1983,
England 1994, Gilbert 1994, Gorelick
1991). England (1994) has suggested
that there are two main benefits of this
type of research: 1) the probability that
the research may be transformed by the
input of the researched is increased, and
2) the researcher becomes a visible part
of the research setting, which leads to
analysis of the role of the researcher,
resulting in a more reflexive stance. But,
we talked about reflexivity already, so
let’s focus on the transformative value
of multivocality.
If fieldwork is undertaken as a
dialogical process between the researcher and the researched, then the
researcher has the opportunity to explore
and clarify the issue(s) being investigated (Acker et. al. 1983, Armstead
1995, Cancian 1992). When research is
conducted as a collaborative process, the
knowledge of subjects is valued
(Armstead 1995). I think that Maguire
(1987:45-46) summarizes the goals and
benefits of a multivocal research project
when she suggests that both researchers
and community members, “know some
things; neither of us knows everything.
Working together we will both know
more; and we will both learn more about
how to know”. When viewpoints aside
from those of the researcher are taken
into account not only does the researcher
allow herself/himself to be educated in
an alternative way and transform the research project, but ownership of that
knowledge then rests not only with the
researcher, but with those researched
(Gorelick 1991, Lynch 2000). Lynch
(2000:81-82) suggests that the “fact that
the subjects are co-creators of the knowledge means that they can exercise control over definitions and interpretations
of their life world. They are also in a
position to be introduced to research
practice through their ongoing involve-
ment in the research process”. This serves
to diffuse power by giving subjects some
control over the research and what is reported, as well as instilling knowledge of
the research process,” she illustrated.
“What about writing-up the research with the people anthropologists
study?” I asked.
“Yes, that is something that some
anthropologists practice. It doesn’t happen
all that often unfortunately,” she answered.
“Some feminists have gone so far as coauthoring written accounts of research with
the individuals that were the focus of their
study (Gilbert 1994, Mbilinyi 1989).
Mbilinyi (1989) credited the women she
studied with co-authorship when she published the results of her research. However, this is not as easy as it sounds.
Mbilinyi (1989) was working on life histories with a very small group of women.
But, what happens when an anthropologist conducts research within a community
with a population of 100 people? Time
would rarely allow for an anthropologist
to collaborate with that number of people,
nor would space when attempting to publish results. With the input of 100 people,
or even 20 people, it would be impossible
to write an article short enough to submit
to a scholarly journal, or a book concise
enough that people would want to read.”
“If co-authorship is impractical
much of the time, are there other ways that
feminist anthropologists have attempted to
acknowledge the multiple voices that exist within any research project?” I asked.
“Some anthropologists have presented any conflicts arising from data interpretation in their final texts (Borland
1991, Gilbert 1994, Mbilinyi 1989). Most
anthropologists don’t have the time or
space to include the interpretations of every
person they interacted with while conducting their research. Focusing on conflicting
ideas between researcher and researched
that arise once the interpretation and analysis of data is complete is one solution that
allows for multiple voices to be heard. This
makes readers of written texts aware that
- 29 -
there are different interpretations of
events or interactions that are just as
valid as the researchers,” she stated.
“Don’t some feminists give editorial power to their research community?” I asked.
“Yes, that does sometimes happen,” she said. “Some feminists have
given copies of their written accounts to
their community of study, and given
them power to remove parts of the text
that they were uncomfortable with (Geiger 1986). Some feminists have also
given research groups editorial power
with regards to the researcher’s interpretations and analysis (Staeheli and
Lawson 1994). This is another form of
co-operation between researcher and researched that helps to distribute control
over what is produced, therefore diffusing power,” she said. “Those are the only
forms of multivocality that I can think
of at the moment. You can see that it
does help immensely when the researcher’s goal is to diffuse power”.
more importantly in discussions regarding
power, this system serves to perpetuate the
power inequities that inherently exist between the researcher and the researched.
When discussing a research project
that Acker et al. (1983) had undertaken,
the researchers themselves suggested that
the act of compiling data, summarizing
another person’s life (or part of it), and then
placing it within the context you have created as the researcher, is objectification”
she explained.
“So, then what do we do? How can
we find our way out of this system of
objectification?” I asked.
“One answer that feminist anthropologists have fashioned is to engage with
the people you are studying with regards
to analysis (Staeheli and Lawson 1994).
Researchers need to look at the categories
and concepts that shape the projects they
are conducting and include the people they
are studying in a “critical, self-reflexive
analysis” (Staeheli and Lawson 1994:100).
Depending on time constraints, this may
be done during research, such as during
interviews, or after the data is collected.
Anthropologists might be able to spend
time following data collection discussing
the analysis and interpretation of the data
with the people in the community, or transcripts and field notes could be sent electronically to subjects for their input, depending on the available technology. Nevertheless, the point is to include the people being studied in the process of analysis and interpretation of the data. If there
are any discrepancies between what the
anthropologist feels she/he deserved and
what the study subjects feel to be the case,
these differences in view should be acknowledged in any written accounts,” she
Analysis and Interpretation of Data
“Another issue that arises when discussing the power relations inherent in the
research process, and the attempt to diffuse that power, is the analysis and interpretation of data (Gilbert 1994). Many
anthropologists still conduct research
projects where they spend various
amounts of time in ‘the field’, whatever
that is for them, and then return home.
They sit in their office at their computer, and, once transcriptions are completed, analyze their data, using various
methods, and then interpret what the
information could mean. Granted most
of these anthropologists will have spent
prolonged periods of time within their
community of study, but how do they
know definitively that they are interpreting the data ‘correctly’? The people studied might have different ideas about the
events or conversations that the researcher may write about. Also, and
Political Activism
“Finally, political activism is another popular method used by feminists to attempt to
diffuse the power existing in research relationships. Part of the move toward eman- 30 -
cipatory research is an approach to political change (Gilbert 1994, Kobayashi
1994, Lather 1986, Staeheli and Lawson
1994). Feminist research is concerned
with the many different types of inequalities that exist within our world, and the
ways in which these inequalities can be
lessened and finally eradicated,” she
“How does political action fit in
with collaborative forms of research?” I
“Well,” she started, “taking part
in more democratic or collaborative research serves to connect those being
studied to the academic world, therefore
beginning the process of social transformation (Staeheli and Lawson 1994).
When we aim to transform not only the
equalities apparent between researchers
and researched, but also the inequalities
that exist within the communities we research, or between these communities
and the rest of the world, that is engaging in political action with the goal of
diffusing power.”
“Also,” she went on, “giving
back to your community of study is one
way of trying to lessen the inequalities
that exist between the researcher and the
researched (Gilbert 1994), that is also a
form of political action. Some anthropologists might choose to send their book
royalties to their community of study, or
to set up a foundation in the community’s name. Whatever they do, they bring
attention to the plights of that community on some level, thereby, helping to
empower the members of the community of study”.
need to take into account?” I asked.
“There are two main factors that I
can think of at the moment,” she said.
“First, we need to remember that “even
feminist researchers have the power to
exploit respondents” (Bloom 1997:117).
Our intentions may be genuine, but we
need to make sure that we don’t fall into
the trap of using our research subjects for
our own means,” she warned.
“That’s true,” I said. “What is your
other concern?” I asked.
“We need to make sure that we are
not appropriating the voices of our research
communities. If we are going to include
the voices of those we research, we need
to specify that they are in fact the opinions, understandings etc. of the research
subjects. Allowing for any type of confusion regarding ownership simply reinforces
the ‘patterns of domination’ (England
1994:81) that we are trying to impede,” she
“That’s understandable,” I said.
Positioning Emancipatory Research
within Mainstream Academia
“So, how do we go about positioning emancipatory research within mainstream anthropology?” I asked.
“Well, that’s not an easy question
to answer,” she sighed. “I’m not sure anybody has the answer. I do think that if feminist anthropologists keep on conducting
this type of research, presenting their findings at conferences, and publishing their
accounts in prominent journals, then eventually it will catch on. By doing these
things, hopefully the colleagues of these
feminist anthropologists will see the benefits of emancipatory research, and begin
engaging with it themselves. I’m not really sure what else to tell you. Like I said,
I don’t have a concrete answer to that question,” she admitted.
“Oh, that’s fine. I just wanted to
know what you’re ideas were on the subject,” I said.
By this point it was getting pretty
Issues to Consider
“There are some other issues that need
to be considered. Emancipatory research
is the best method we presently have to
diffuse power relations, but that doesn’t
mean it’s perfect,” she cautioned.
“What are these issues that we
- 31 -
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late in the evening. I know I was getting
tired, and I think my acquaintance was
as well. I explained to her that I should
go grab a bus before service stops for
the night, and get home to bed so I could
start working on my paper the next day.
“Yes, I should probably go see if
they have started boarding my plane,”
she said.
“Well, thanks for all your help
tonight. I have a lot of ideas for my paper now,” I said.
“You’re very welcome,” she
“It was nice meeting you. Have
a good night,” I said.
“Thanks, you too,” she said.
At that point I left the pub to
head to the bus stop, and my new acquaintance left heading in the opposite
direction. Once I was on the bus I realized that I didn’t even get her name. I
haven’t seen her again since that night.
I don’t know who she is, and I guess I
never will.
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Trinh, T.M.
1986-7“Difference: ‘A special Third World
Women Issue’.” Discourse 8:11-38.
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general article
Leah Getchell
Queer Science, Queer Archaeology:
Moving Beyond the Feminist Critique
Feminism still remains a ‘dirty’ word in some academic disciplines today, particularly in the hard
sciences. It is argued however that a feminist critique of Western scientific thought has shed much light
on the omissions of the androcentric discipline. Feminist theory has influenced how archaeologists
have both theorized about and practiced archaeology over the last two decades. What this article
argues however is that the feminist epistemological standpoint, while important, situates itself in an
extremist standpoint as the scientific objectivists do. In order to find an even more holistic and appropriate way to explore and think about our human past, a queer science and archaeology should be
undertaken. Not only does queer theory provide a more holistic way to critique lived experiences
today and in the past, it moves beyond the feminist focus and provides a more compelling evaluation of
historical and modern institutions of power and knowledge production.
Biographical Statement
Leah is in the second year of the anthropology masters program at the University of Victoria and her
area of interest is that of social anthropology. My thesis work examines female table-top role-playing
gamers and role-playing games as a possible site for resistance or perpetuation of gender stereotypes.
Along side her research on gender issues my other areas of anthropological fascination include social
and archaeological theory, participatory action research, youth sub-cultures, and play.
Despite the movements in feminist theory
over the last two decades it can be argued
that feminism is still a ‘dirty’ utterance,
particularly when it is associated with the
word science. Feminist critiques of science have provided cross-disciplinary
insights into the androcentric history and
nature of Western scientific thought, and
the discipline of archaeology is no exception. Since the mid 1980s the presence
and acknowledgment of the archaeology
of gender has fostered a wide audience of
supporters from field archaeologists like
Elizabeth Prine, who searches for third
genders in a Middle Missouri village, to
Alison Wylie who theorizes about the
presence and use of a feminist science and
its contributions to archaeological theory
and method. Although I agree with the
critical nature that feminist researchers
postulate, I suggest the feminist critique
actually situates itself in an extreme fashion the same way objectivist science theories situate themselves as being the creators of truthful knowledge production—
thus positioning feminist theory in an
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extremist light. I will argue that clearly
some elements of feminist theory and critique are essential both in science and in
the way we think about and practice archaeology, however I will suggest we need
to move beyond the dichotomous bigendered theoretical framework of objectivist processualism and extreme relativist postprocessualism.
Queer theory not only provides an
opportunity to move beyond the male/female dichotomy but also away from the
heteronormative standpoint that still permeates scientific knowledge and archaeological theory and practice today. It provides us with a more holistic and critical
lens from which we can address issues of
power and knowledge, both in present day
academic/scientific practice and in our
interpretations of the past.
Before one can begin to understand and critique feminist epistemology,
and its analysis of modern Western science, the role that science has played
within the discipline of archaeology must
first be reviewed to give the reader a more
solid platform with which to follow my
It has been agreed that science can
be seen in both a positive and negative
light. Science has brought us modern
advancements such as aviation, the
Internet and astonishing medical technology. On the other hand, the role of science in medicine has recently brought up
moral and ethical issues like embryonic
stem cell testing—which one could argue
allows scientists to play God all in the
good name of Science. These new moral
and ethical issues are now bringing up
the fine question—what is Science?
Auguste Comte suggests that science is an institution of authority and
power such as the Roman Catholic Church
was only a century ago (Johnson 1999).
With this I will agree, however the question of what is science needs to be directly
addressed in terms of its history within
the discipline of archaeology. It was these
sorts of questions archaeologists were
asking in the early 1960s: What is Science? What are the different forms of
Science? And which form, if any, should
archaeology strive to appropriate?
Moving way from the Culture
History approach, New Archaeologists,
processualists, solidified their paradigm
shift with the slogan “we must be more
scientific” (Johnson 1999:34). After the
Second World War, science-based technological advancements and procedures
started penetrating academia and archaeologists hung up their Stetson hats and
trowels for crisply starched white lab jackets and became immersed in laboratory
life. Archaeologists were moving away
from creating and organizing intricate and
complicated pottery typologies to being
more concerned with pollen diagrams,
carbon-14 dating, dendrochronology dating, and other more measurable scientific
methods. However it was argued that although archaeologists were using scientific methods this did not imply that it was
a distinctive and useful way of finding out
about the past. David Clark is quoted as
saying the uses of scientific techniques
“no more make archaeology into a science
than a wooden leg turns a man into a tree”
(Clarke 1978: 465 qtd. in Johnson 1999:
36). Nevertheless, New Archaeologists
argued that the natural sciences and the
arising technological advances afforded
archaeologists the ability to bridge the gap
between the past and the present and was
the solution to the conundrum of inference (Johnson 1999).
Before I argue more about the
validity of science within archaeology, let
me first explain how I am defining science in this particular context. Johnson
(1999) provides a succinct explanation of
the different forms of science archaeologists concerned themselves with, and outlines the most pervasive form—positivism. Positivistic science is said to be
conducted using the following beliefs;
The notion that we should separate theory from method.
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The separation of the context of
the discovery of an idea from the context
of its evaluation.
A generalizing explanation is the
only valid form of explanation.
Un-testable statements are outside the domain of science.
Scientific thought should be independent of value judgments and political actions, (Johnson 1999:38-39).
with studying the past. This is a strong
and ongoing debate and thus I will leave
it in its simplest form here. The second
argument against positivist science is that,
as in chemistry or biology, science is
based on predictions and it is argued that
human behavior cannot prescribe to this
blind predictability as our behavior is said
to be purposive or intentional (Johnson
1999). Thus in order to understand human actions and ultimately cultures of the
past, it is implied that we must try to understand and recreate people’s thoughts
or their intentionality behind the production of specific pottery types or irrigation
plans. It is argued that archaeology should
be concerned less with dating and
typologies and more with the thoughts and
intentions that create the material
record—this task is something that even
science is incapable of accomplishing
(Johnson 1999).
Kuhn and Feyerabend (Johnson
1999) take the critique of science one step
further in a direction that aligns with the
feminist critique. They suggest that positivism is, in fact, not a theory but a myth.
More clearly they suggest that positivism
is an ideal model of scientific philosophy
and as such, sheds a dim and murky light
onto what it is that scientists actually do.
Johnson (1999) clearly points out that to
ask archaeology to follow such a philosophy would be asking them to create their
own fantasy world.
So the question remains, if science is merely a myth, what are scientists getting up to in their laboratories?
Khun and Feyerabend suggest there are
no authentic observable realities that are
consuming the funding dollars and minds
of scientists, but rather what they observe
as fact and truth is socially, historically,
and politically influenced and situated.
Feyerabend follows Comte’s ideas that
science itself is a large and excessively
powerful institution that masks its selfserving interests behind their objectivist
placard. “Positivism in Feyerabend’s
view masks ‘institutional intimidation’ by
To a critical academic and social theorist,
several of these statements are likely to
give goose bumps and send one running
to the liquor cabinet. These beliefs are
the foundation of positivist science and,
as we will see later, are critiqued by not
only feminists, but by other members of
academia as well. An example provided
by Johnson of how archaeologists attempted to use this model to explain the
past looks something like this;
Hypothesis: early states involve
differential access to resources, in other
words, elites have greater access to basic
Test: dig a cemetery from an early
state society and chemically analyze the
Deduction: the elite ate more
meat, so we deduce that they did indeed
have greater access to nutrition.
Generalization: early states do
have such differential access, subject to
further testing, other examples from other
cultures at the same phase of social development, etc. (Johnson 1999: 41).
It is obvious how New Archaeologists and
later processualists attempted to situate
their work, and the archaeological discipline in general, within a scientific framework.
There were people during this
time and long after that did not agree with
this strict and generalizing use of science
and Johnson (1999) outlines some of the
critiques. Firstly, science is based on testing and observation of results and it is
still argued today this is a difficult task
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pretending to be neutral, hinders the development of science, and encourages
scientism and the ‘cult of the expert’”
(Johnson 1999:45). Feyerabend makes an
acute observation with his remark on the
‘cult of the expert’ and I will return to
this point as it fits nicely into my later
discussion of the feminist epistemological standpoint on science.
What Kuhn, Comte and
Feyerabend are arguing is a case of ‘social constructivism’. This is the idea that
science, and every other element of human life, is socially constructed. Further
there can be no real objectivity in science,
archaeology or any other discipline, because what we know or proclaim to discover from facts, theories and methods
will always be laden with the influences
of the social world within which we work.
Lewis Binford suggests in his 2001 article “Where do Research Questions Come
From?” that “the recognition and discussion by archaeologists of ‘where do problems come from’ is probably most characteristic of the contemporary era. Such
a problem does not appear to have been
acknowledged during the era of traditional
archaeology” (670). Binford continues his
discussion with careful attention paid to
the claims of the contemporary era, or that
of a social constructivist standpoint, as
merely the business of the humanities
with no position in the science of archaeology.
As a traditionalist and a member of the
old academic elite it is understandable
this standpoint of social constructivism
would make Binford uneasy as he has
dedicated his career to objectivist inquiry.
Questioning anybody’s epistemological
paradigm, one on which they have built
their life’s work no matter what the area
of study, will always become a power
struggle—one which I will argue is essential when examining the andocentric
nature of scientific thought itself.
The debate over the nature of scientific thought and practice within archaeology has been ongoing since the early
1970s when many archaeologists, like Ian
Hodder, began questioning notions of
objectivity, inference, and analogy when
examining past remains. Alison Wylie is
another influential participant in this theoretical debate. In her article, The Reaction Against Analogy (Wylie 1985), she
describes Kluckhohn’s wariness in the
processual era of archaeology as the “lingering effects of overreaction to the excesses of evolutionary speculation” (Wylie
1985: 69) and the disciplines wariness of
the more abstract queries of anthropological thought. Kluckhohn was ahead of his
time when he stated, not only is it impossible to eliminate all interpretive, theoretical inferences beyond the data—the
very identification of a body of empirical
phenomena as ‘archaeological’ presupposes a vast network of such inferences—
but also that this restrictive policy is profoundly counterproductive (Wylie
This statement and others like it
challenge the notion of objectivity not only
in the natural sciences, but in what
Binford would call the ‘Archaeology of
Science’ as well. Questions arise over the
nature of the material record and how
what we call ‘data’ can be considered data
in the scientific sense if methods of analysis rely on inference and analogy and, as
Wylie argues, are laden with the social
experiences of the researcher. The trouble with objectivist archaeology, if we can
concede for a moment that objectivity is
an attainable goal, is what Johnson described above. We are dealing with a dead
human past, so the possibility for one to
stand back and make objectivist statements about a culture that is no longer
present or patterns of human behavior that
we can no longer see is a non-reality
within a scientific framework. Wylie continues to support this by saying that any
fact that is put forth comes only from our
contemporary understanding and experience of the way different cultures around
the globe work. In essence, any conclusion, assumption, or objective fact derived
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from either the archaeological record or
in any other scientific realm, is purely a
construction of the powerful institution of
science itself which supports the goals of
the few at the expense of the many.
It is appropriate to reflect back on
what Feyerabend said earlier about the
scientific institution being a ‘cult of the
expert’. I will now place a feminist lens
on this discussion of science to explore
and discuss the androcentric nature of
science and subsequently archaeology itself. This will open the door to explain
why the search for gender in archaeology
is so important to the discipline.
the move away from the strict positivist
approach of processualism to the more
interpretive and multi-vocal approach of
post-processualsim—the introduction of
feminist thinking, critique and concern for
looking at how we have been interpreting our human past. As the quote from
Hurcombe suggests, archaeological interpretation has largely been one sided and
thus does not create a picture of a viable
life-sustaining prehistory and she suggests, with the current picture of the past
which archaeology has painted for us, it
is a miracle humans have made it as far
as we have. Lucy (1997) aptly points out
how the androcentric interpretations of the
past represent a gap in the scholarship
rather than inherent holes in the archaeological data itself. Lucy’s work with
Anglo-Saxon burials in Yorkshire demonstrates the ineffective interpretation of
burials based solely on evidence of sexual
dimorphism that lead to shallow and
likely inaccurate interpretations of past
Anglo-Saxon life. Instead, her research
demonstrates that as an alternative for
only using grave goods to ascribe sex to
burials, the examination of two other
equally significant assemblages (jewelry
or no grave goods at all) need to be examined. Thus, the examination of AngloSaxon furnished or non-furnished inhumation burials can shed more light on the
realities of social organization and gender relations. This is more scholarly in a
sense because it does not solely rely on
sexual stereotypes that explain nothing as
they are formulated not on reality, but on
our contemporary biases and misconceptions. Lucy concludes her study by stating, “[U]ltimately, the unquestioned authority of the sexual stereotype must be
challenged” (Lucy 1997:164). By including questions of gender in our archaeological research, we are able to add more
holistic interpretations of the past.
Margaret Conkey and Joan Gero
have, both together and independently,
had a significant impact within the archaeological discipline, bringing gender
Gender and Archaeology
Viable human populations
necessarily include two biological sexes, sufficient numbers of both, and their interactions. The archaeological
literature shows a past peopled mainly by men (e.g.
‘Early man’, ‘craftsmen’,
‘big men’) and with little consideration for the interaction
between genders. As is it is
represented, the human race
simply does not have a viable
(Hurcombe 1995: 87 qtd. in
Hurcombe 1997:15).
This quote by Linda Hurcombe is a succinct summary of why issues of gender
must be addressed within the archaeological record. I have argued above that
processual archaeology (i.e. thinking of
archaeology as a kind of science) has concerned itself with larger issues like the
importance of ranking and hierarchies in
cultural change, and largely has a biological reductionist and environmentally determinist approach. It lacks an understanding of the significance of both the
symbolic realm and individual agency
(Scott 1997). Since then, questions have
been raised about the “proper study of
mankind” (Scott 1997:1) and here we see
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to the forefront of study. Conkey was a
member of the American Anthropological Association Committee on the status
of women from 1974 (chair in 1975-1976)
and due to this she was drawn into the
organization of a panel for the 1977 AAA
meetings on gender research in the various sub fields of anthropology. Joan Gero
has also done important work on her own
and published a number of
groundbreaking articles on these issues
and was actively involved in promoting
research on the political dynamics, including the gender dynamics within the discipline (Gero 1983, 1985, 1991). Together they organized a conference in
South Carolina that was one of the first
archaeological events to focus on the issue of gender. This was in response to
the famous 1989 Chacmool conference at
the University of Calgary, where the title
of the conference was “The Archaeology
of Gender”. It drew over one hundred contributions and was the first conference of
its kind (Wylie 1992). It marked the beginning of a new era within archaeology
and the wheels are still spinning over a
decade later.
In their informative 1997 article,
“Program to Practice: Gender and Feminism in Archaeology”, Conkey & Gero
concurrently argue with Lucy that the primary purpose for undertaking a gendered
archaeology is to both identify and assert
the presence and activity of women at
prehistoric sites. Such a practice forces
conscious attention to startling assumptions about gender, where traditional assessments of the division of labor were
extremely biased.
They continue to argue that the
concepts of both gender and sex are constructed, that is to say not rooted in biology, procreation, or are inherently dichotomous. This point clearly supports one of
the first arguments made in this paper
with reference to the social constructivist
notions of science, and that all
constructionist critiques start from the assumption that our analytical categories are
deeply embedded in historical, sociocultural, ideological and material contexts.
The materiality of the archaeological
record brings about an important issue on
how to analyze the dialectic between human life as socially constructed and the
very materiality of human life. In sum
“the idea of gender as a social construction mandates that archaeologists interrogate their starting assumptions when
setting out to do an archaeology of gender” (Conkey & Gero 1997: 418). Clearly
we can see the importance of including
the search for gender—multiple ways of
experiencing life in the past—into our
field methodology and theoretical positioning. It provides us with a more holistic view of the past, one that includes
women as active participants within the
social and cultural realms of prehistoric
reality, and consequently allows us to
engage in a more successful scholarship.
This position also opens up the doors for
multiple interpretations bringing us perhaps that much closer to a more robust
scientific understanding of our past.
A Feminist Critique of Science
As I mentioned in the opening statement,
the word feminism in the 21st century is
still at times considered a dirty word especially when it is associated with science. I have experienced this first hand,
particularly when talking to male colleagues in the natural sciences, such as
math and physics. When I mentioned I
was writing a paper on feminist science,
or using a feminist lens to critique science, I received several blank stares or a
skeptically cocked eyebrow. Perhaps this
is a result of the skepticism that is raised
when the words feminist and science are
used in the same sentence. What I would
have explained however, if I had felt the
social climate was receptive, is that feminism in the sense that I will use it here is
not only about equal rights between both
sexes, but that the feminist critique offers a critical lens with which we (and it
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does not always mean woman, as men can
take a feminist approach, too) can take a
bird’s eye view of how power structures
have been organized. This could range
from the formation of academic institutions, the political economy, religious institutions, or the discipline of science. A
feminist critique allows the user to question the status quo, the taken-for-granteds,
and question issues of power and knowledge.
Why then were my male colleagues so dismissive when I mentioned
my current pursuit? I would suggest it is
the misconception among both men and
women about what the word feminism,
in the academic sense of the word means.
I will heretofore use Alison Wylie’s definition of feminism as applied to the sciences. She suggests that feminist interventions with science “exemplify a critical engagement of claims to objectivity
that refuses reductive constructivism as
firmly as it rejects unreflective objectivism. This is a strategic ambivalence that
holds enormous promise and is typical of
much feminist thinking in and about scientific practice” (Wylie 1997: 80). She
goes on to say the hallmark of the postpositivist philosophy of science “ is a commitment to ground philosophical analysis in a detailed understanding of scientific practice (historical or contemporary),
an exercise that has forced attention to
the diversity and multidimensionality of
the sciences” (Wylie 1997: 87). This
statement is a difficult one as it requires
us to maintain faith that science has a distinctive, unifying rationality that can be
reconstructed across any discipline we
have historically or culturally identified
as ‘scientific’ (Wylie 1997). What has
come from these conclusions is that no
existing science studies have the resources to make sense of science from a
strictly philosophical, sociological or historical point of view. Andrew Pickering
makes the point that “[S]cientific
practice…is situated and evolves right on
the boundary, at the point of intersection,
of the material, social, [and]
conceptual…worlds [and it] cuts very
deeply across disciplinary boundaries”
(Pickering 1992 qtd. in Wylie 1997: 87).
The necessary task at hand is to develop
a truly interdisciplinary approach that will
take us away from the more dichotomous
thinking of the traditional sciences.
It is this strict dichotomous thinking that I will address as being the core
issue of both the traditional scientific
framework and the feminist critique. Although, as Wylie (1997) suggests, breaking down these dichotomies has been the
purpose of the feminist critique of science,
I will argue that even though much work
has been done by feminist thinkers, the
feminist approach places itself at the top
of the ‘how to know’ pyramid, doing what
the traditionalists did with their philosophical approach to the production of
Conkey & Gero (1997) suggest
one of the goals of a feminist critique of
science is to question strict dichotomies
within scientific knowledge in order to
acknowledge and explore other ways of
knowing and experiencing life that is betwixt and between such opposing notions.
Additionally as stated above, it offers a
basis for a critical evaluation of authority, symbols, the canon(s) of science, and
the arrangements by which science is produced—thus the very nature of scientific
inquiry. Conkey & Gero also suggest that
feminist critiques of science question who
can be a knower, as well as the relationships of power between the community
of expert knowers and the knowledge they
cooperatively produce. Ultimately, they
are asking questions about the moralization of objectivity.
When one takes a look at the suggested task at hand, which is to
deconstruct what Western society has
come to know as science, it is no doubt
an undertaking that would require perhaps
an impossible combination of intellectual
brawn and pragmatic magic. Conkey &
Gero suggest that it is the long-standing
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feminist critique of science that has
opened the eyes of many archaeologists
to the current state of affairs within the
discipline. Those who have accepted the
feminist critique are those who have
joined Conkey and Gero in their efforts
to incorporate issues of gender in their
theories and methods. They outline four
main sections within the feminist critique
of science, which have proven to be particularly influential in questioning archaeological practices—I will outline
them briefly.
Feminists and other critical thinkers have recognized that politics and the
substantive products of knowledge generation are essentially inseparable. They
have long been suspicious of science as a
bastion of male privilege—a point in
which a counter argument would be difficult to substantiate—and that science
betrays a pervasive disinterest in the concerns of women. Additionally sciences,
particularly the social and medical sciences, not only reproduce but also legitimize precisely the ideology of gender inequity that feminists question. I will add
here what I hope will provide a good example of just how androcentric science is
by looking at scientific language used to
describe the human fertilization process.
In Emily Martin’s intriguing and telling
1991 article, “The Egg and the Sperm:
How science has constructed a romance
based on stereotypical male-female
roles”, she succinctly outlines the very
gender biased language that modern day
science uses. In an effort not to lose the
potency of her argument, I will quote her
in full:
How is it that positive images
are denied to the bodies of
women? A look at language—in this case, scientific language—provides the
first clue. Take the egg and
the sperm. It is remarkable
how “femininely” the egg
“masculinely” the sperm.
The egg is seen as large and
passive. It does not move or
journey, but passively “ is
transported,” “is swept,” or
even “drifts” along the
fallopian tube. In utter contrast, sperm are small,
“streamlined,” and invariably
active. They “deliver” their
genes to the egg, “activate the
developmental program of
the egg,” and have a “velocity” that is often remarked
upon. Their tails are “strong”
and efficiently powered. Together with the forces of
ejaculation, they can “propel
the semen into the deepest
recesses of the vagina.” For
this they need “energy,”
“fuel,” so that with a
“whiplashlike motion and
strong lurches” they can “burrow through the egg coat” and
“penetrate” it, (Martin
This provides an excellent example of the
kind of male dominated language, thought
and knowledge present in not only modern, but arguably in historical science as
well. I suggest this kind of androcentric
language is present within the sciences
as there has been a noticeable absence of
women contributing and writing within
the discipline. It is also argued that the
statistical absence of women in the sciences not only affects the androcentric
bias in the discourse, but has also produced overtly masculine understandings
and research conclusions (Conkey & Gero
In terms of how this has influenced possible notions and research in
archaeology, Gero (1993) presents evidence from Paleo-Indian sites that have
largely been interpreted with a male bias.
This consequently has permitted a dominant paradigm which focuses on hunting
as the primary and definitional activity
of early Paleo-Indian groups and does not
examine elements in which women
played a role in the survival process of
their tribes. This is a clear statement of
how interpretations of the past can be
blindly colored by the exclusion of other
gender possibilities, namely women, in
the archaeological record. This kind of
omission can be seen across the board in
the sciences. If we do not insist that issues of gender be a primary focus of our
archaeological inquiry, then we are not
only being poor researchers—as we are
not exploring all the possibilities—we are
excluding fifty percent of the population
and their role in prehistoric life. Clearly
the men could not have done it all on their
haps unknowingly, in a dichotomous and
hyper-relativist standpoint parallel to the
uber-positivist processualist standpoint.
As I mentioned earlier, the word feminism
is still considered a dirty word, which still
requires further examination within the
discipline of archaeology. As Lesick
(1997) suggests, it has taken archaeology
far too long to acknowledge that a feminist critique aims at more then simply
addressing the Western battle of the sexes.
Alison Wylie (1992) puts forth
some salient questions that support my
idea that a feminist standpoint, albeit
unintentionally, sets itself up in a direct
and almost pious opposition to the extreme objectivist standpoint they wish to
avoid. Wylie suggests the current research
on gender is clearly motivated and shaped
in part by an explicitly feminist commitment and that in so doing it can be, and
still is I suggest, dismissed as an extreme
anti-objectivist standpoint. In positioning themselves in this way feminists exemplify the sort of partisan approach to
inquiry and scholarship that Binford
(2001) identified as conceptual posturing.
More concisely, if political obligations as
I have acknowledged above are inseparable from our theory and inquiry, does this
not irrevocably compromise the commitments to objectivity and value neutrality
that stand as the hallmark of science? If
this is the case, what credibility can be
given to such an inquiry that claims its
results are just as limited and biased as
those they are meant to displace? In addition, if an explicitly partisan feminist
standpoint suggests that it is providing a
more objectivist view, as it is operating
outside the dominant androcentric framework of inquiry, does this not suggest that
any view which uses a critical lens can
bring new ways of understanding the past,
and therefore suggests that any number
of standpoints might do the same? Trigger (1998) advises that any standpoint that
claims its position is the appropriate and
correct one, as much of the undertones of
feminist literature suggests, it only suc-
Queer Theory—Moving Beyond the
Feminist Critique
As reviewed above feminist
theory is one that attempts to breakdown
the status quo of existing power structures, like those within the discipline of
archaeology and in science as well. When
wearing a feminist lens to critique power
structures within archaeology one will
realize the discipline has largely overlooked the presence of women in the archaeological record, leaving us with a very
unrealistic representation of our historic
and prehistoric past.
Looking for gender, that is to say
men and women in the archaeological
record, has subsequently encouraged efforts to look for other less ‘traditional’
elements in the material record such as
past sexualities and the presence and involvement of children. These are all valuable and worthy goals that post
processualists have undertaken, and I will
continue to support these efforts as I agree
with the above scholars who suggest that
a critical lens, a feminist lens, “is a useful and legitimate interpretive and
classificatory device” (Lesick 1997:39).
What I would like to examine further is the idea that feminism and the
feminist critique has situated itself, per- 42 -
ceeds in becoming another extreme standpoint. The real foundation of its critical
theory is side stepped by many and it is
seen as having little credibility archaeologically or scientifically. This is what
has continued to happen with the feminist critique and its efforts to bring gender issues to the surface of the archeological investigation, and is perhaps one
of the reasons many scholars in the discipline have been slow to ‘catch on’.
In response to Wylie’s 1992 article, Little (1994) provides an intriguing
response, one that fuelled my own interest in exploring an alternative to the relativist standpoint that follows feminist
theory, which still alienates many contemporary scholars across the disciplines.
Little directs her argument back
to the musings of seventeenth-century philosopher and historian Francis Bacon and
his view that science is the domination of
man (explicitly) over nature. This is an
appropriate interpretation of the historical framework within which science has
developed over the centuries. However,
Keller (1985) interprets Bacon’s vision
of masculine science as ambiguous but
reflective of the epistemological efforts
of the time. Keller suggests that in order
to move past the dichotomy of the male/
female bias of the scientific framework,
a hermetic standpoint is more useful. I
suggest this could be useful in
deconstructing the rigid relativist standpoint much of the feminist literature
takes. She also suggests that gender ideology was a crucial mediation between
the birth of modern science and our contemporary political and economic transformations. The mechanical and hermetic
were opposing epistemologies based on
philosophies rather than empiricism.
“The former separated matter from spirit
and both hand and mind from heart. The
latter suffused matter with spirit and believed understanding required heart as
well as hand and mind” (Little 1994:541).
The hermetic vision, that is not to say the
physical joining of male and female but
of the male and female elements in harmony, was dismissed as the scientific
revolution responded to and supported the
polarization of gender required by industrial capitalism. Thus, the idea of a harmonious union of both female and male
elements was lost to the archives until
now. What I hope to demonstrate is that
by moving away from explicit male/female dichotomies and adopting a queer
epistemology we may be able to push the
limits of our theoretical thinking. By suggesting the adoption of a hermetic or queer
view of the world, and subsequently a
queer view of science, the notably dangerous division created by an extreme
feminist standpoint epistemology can be
It is necessary at this point to define what I mean by queer science. The
term queer is again a very politically, socially, and historically loaded term. However the epistemological standpoint behind queer theory allows for a more inclusive theoretical paradigm then the
feminist male/female dichotomy—as it
includes anyone who does not fit within
the normative framework. Therefore I
position my argument of queer science not
specifically around the word queer but
around the standpoint of queer theory as
a standpoint which aims to be inclusive
to all genders and sexualities and can offer both science and archaeology a more
holistic theoretical approach altogether.
In Goldman’s (1996) article,
“Who is that Queer Queer? Exploring
Norms around Sexuality, Race and Class
in Queer Theory”, she identifies that
queer theory, and the term queer itself,
has many conflicting interpretations.
Some people take queer theory to represent another nebulous abstract form of
academic discourse understood only
through the signifier queer: a complex
term which itself allows for many albeit
contradictory, interpretations. Therefore,
depending on one’s position and knowledge, the term queer theory can mean
several different things: a theoretical per- 43 -
spective from which to challenge the
norm; another term for lesbian and gay
studies, or more radically another way that
queer academics waste their time and taxpayers money (Goldman 1996). Clearly,
this is an encumbered term, and I will
agree that it may even be more of a contested term then the word feminism; however, queer theory seeks to break down
the rigid ‘bi-gender’ structure and I argue it provides researchers with a useful
theoretical tool, as it gets away from the
oppositional stance which a lot of feminist and objectivist debates create.
Goldman continues defining how
a queer theory standpoint allows
inclusivity, flexibility, and is a “rejection
of a minoritarian logic of toleration or simple interest-representation. Instead, queer
politics represents an expansive impulse
of inclusion; specifically, it requires a resistance to regimes of the normal”
(Goldman 1996:170). Relaying heavily
on postmodernist theorists like Foucault
and Derrida, queer theory aims to revolutionize power structures by changing the
way discourses around sexuality and gender are structured as attempts to disrupt
the hegemony of the heteropatriarchy
(Goldman 1996). Using queer theory as
a basis for a critique of science, it can be
seen as a useful tool above and beyond
how a strictly feminist—based on a strict
bi-gender approach—is used. It allows
for an even more inclusive approach to
addressing issues of power and knowledge.
been transposed as being not only the
normative way of today, but in the past as
well. As noted earlier bringing ones own
social, historical and political mores and
biases into the realm of research is something that is largely indisputable in the
current academic literature. What queer
theory provides, which no other theoretical perspective has achieved to this point,
is an even more holistic method of
critiquing not only lived experiences in
the past but current and historical institutions of power and knowledge production.
Dealing with issues of
normativity has had a long-standing and
entrenched position within archaeological thinking. Although the progressive
postprocessual trends have introduced a
much-needed critical and self-reflective
approach to archaeology, they have largely
kept their theory and analysis snug within
the bounds of the normative. Dowson argues that a new kind of archaeology is
thus required. This will not be an easy
task, and will force us not only to learn
how to better reconstruct the past, but it
will teach us new ways of approaching
the past altogether. This mandate will
not go uncontested and Dowson argues
that even the most liberal archaeologists
have had a hard time actively supporting
a queer inquiry of the past. Although
postprocessualism has brought some integral and necessary reflexivity to how
archaeologists can interpret the past, we
cannot stop there. The discipline of archaeology must continue to push the bar
higher and rise to the theoretical and
methodological challenge of a more inclusive way of thinking about and researching our human past (Dowson 2000).
Dowson continues his argument
for more archaeological engagement with
queer theory by suggesting, “queer theory
actively and explicitly challenges the
heteronormativity of scientific practice”
(Dowson 2000:163). This remark brings
us back to my argument that instead of a
feminist science, we must adopt a queer
Moving Beyond the Feminist Critique
In Thomas Dowson’s 2000 article, “Why
queer archaeology: An introduction”, he
outlines why queer theory is an effective
standpoint for archaeologists to use when
interpreting the past. He argues the past
is interpreted in a strictly heterosexual
manner that subsequently excludes several other ways of being. Notions of the
family are never challenged and the Western and heterosexual ideas of family have
- 44 -
Goldman, Ruth.
1996 “Who is That Queer Queer? Exploring Norms around Sexuality, Race,
and Class in Queer Theory”. In
Queer Studies: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Anthology.
Brett Beemyn and Mickey Eliason,
eds. New York University Press:
New York. Pp.169-183.
Hurcombe, Linda.
1997 “A viable past in the pictorial
present: Invisible People and Processes”. In Writing Gender and
Childhood into European Archaeology. Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott
eds. Leicester University Press:
London and New York. Pp.15-25.
Johnson, J.
1999 Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. Massachusetts: Blackwell
Lesick, Kurtis.
1997 “Re-engendering gender: some theoretical and methodological concerns
on a burgeoning archaeological pursuit”. In Writing Gender and Childhood into European Archaeology.
Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott eds.
Leicester University Press: London
and New York. Pp.31-41.
Little, Barbara J.
1994 “Consider the Hermaphroditic
Mind: Comment on “The Interplay
of Evidential Constraints and Political Interests: Recent Archaeological
Research on Gender.” American Antiquity 59(3):539-544.
Lucy, S.J.
1997 “Sex and gender in Anglo-Saxon
burials”. In Writing Gender and
Childhood into European Archaeology. Jenny Moore and Eleanor Scott
eds. Leicester University Press: London and New York. Pp.150-168.
Martin, Emily.
1991 “The egg and the sperm: How science has constructed a romance
based on stereotypical male-female
roles” Signs. 16(3):485-501.
Scott, Eleanor.
1997 “Introduction: On the incompleteness of archaeological narratives”.
In Writing Gender and Childhood
into European Archaeology. Jenny
Moore and Eleanor Scott eds.
Leicester University Press: London
science and thus a queer archaeology. Not
only has the scientific institution been
constructed through an androcentric lens,
it has also been built on a heteroandrocentric notion. So where a feminist
critique brings up essential questions of
gender bias in scientific writing, discourse, and practice, a queer perspective
takes this one step further by addressing
the heteronormative framework from
which science is created. By adopting a
queer standpoint, archaeologists and critical thinkers are opening up space for an
even more inclusive and critical analysis.
This includes discussions concerning contemporary institutions that claim to produce truthful and normal ways of knowing and being. It will allow the active
engagement of queer theory as a way of
continuing to improve work carried out as
interpreters of the past. This will not only
improve archaeological theory and method
but will strengthen our commitment to
addressing the very foundation of Western scientific knowledge itself.
References Cited
Binford, Lewis.
2001 “Where Do Research Questions
Come From?” American Antiquity
Conkey, M and Joan Gero.
1997 “Programme to Practice: Gender and
Feminism in Archaeology.” Annual
Review of Anthropology 26:411-37.
Dowson, T.
2000 “Why Queer Archaeology-An Introduction.” World Archaeology
Gero, Joan M.
1983 The Socio-Politics of Archaeology.
David, M. Lacy and Michael L.
Blakey (eds). Amherst: Department
of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts.
1985 “Socio-Politics and the Women-AtHome Ideology.” American Antiquity
Gero, Joan M. and Margaret Conkey
1991 Engendering Archaeology: Women
and Prehistory. Oxford: Blackwell.
- 45 -
and New York. Pp.1-12.
Trigger, Bruce G.
1991 “Archaeology and Epistemology:
Dialoguing across the Darwinian
Chasm.” American Journal of Archaeology. 10:21-34.
Wylie, Alison.
1985 “Reaction Against Analogy.” Advances
in archaeological method and theory
- 46 -
1992 “The Interplay of Evidential Constraints and Political Interests: Recent
Archaeological Research on Gender.” American Antiquity 57(1):1535.
1997 “The Engendering of Archaeology:
Refiguring Feminist Science
Studies.”The History of Science Society 12:80-99.
general article
Sangeeta Parmar
Pharmaceutical Companies:
Attempting to Change Ethnomedicine
by Supplanting Doctors
Pharmaceutical companies are an important resource in medicine. However the relationships cultivated by these companies, with physicians and patients, have negative consequences on the delivery of
adequate medical care. This paper draws attention to some of the potential problems and tactics used
by pharmaceutical companies to form relationships with physicians and patients. Furthermore it makes
suggestions on how to buffer negative interference by pharmaceutical companies. This article aims to
raise awareness of the need to protect our ethnomedicine.
Bibliographical Statement
Sangeeta Parmar is an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria, pursuing a double major in
Biology and Anthropology. In addition to these fields, she has a special interest in Medicine. Her
personal health and health care experiences had allowed her to look critically at medicine and the
need for refining and protecting our ethnomedicine. She hopes that in the future, medicine will become
more people-orientated than profit motivated.
Thanks to my family, friends and professors: Dr. Beattie, Dr. Botting and Dr. Foster.
Special thanks to both my younger brother and closest friend, always my enthusiasts.
Pharmaceutical companies in North
America are increasingly promoting drug
solutions for the treatment of health problems. These companies influence both
patients and doctors through various tactics that often disguise their profit motive from the public eye. The negative
consequences of their interference in the
delivery of adequate medical care can,
in part, be prevented by drawing attention to the relationship these companies
foster with physicians through gift giving,
paying large wages, and continuing education, and with patients through direct to
consumer advertising. Within the field of
Medical Anthropology some are attempting to draw attention to these problematic
relationships and to suggest solutions.
Recommendations have included increasing doctors’ awareness about their relationship with pharmaceutical companies,
strengthening the doctor-patient relation- 47 -
ship, and increasing the accountability
of companies for unethical behavior.
Each society has its own beliefs
about sickness, which include ideas
about how we stay healthy, how we contract certain illnesses, and what we need
to do to get better. These beliefs and
ideas, which determine when and why
we seek medical help and from whom,
comprise our ethnomedicine, or culture
of medicine (Quinlan 2004). Pharmaceutical companies are attempting to transform ethnomedicine into a profit-focused
industry by targeting doctors and patients. These companies are undermining the authority of doctors by using their
credibility as script writers and loyal
healers to promote their products to patients. In addition, pharmaceutical companies are also targeting patients through
direct to consumer advertising. Through
these tactics, pharmaceutical companies
are increasingly gaining power over
treatment options, altering the relationship between physicians and patients and
ultimately changing the beliefs and ideas
comprising our ethnomedicine.
The pharmaceutical industry’s
aim of improving profits is leading to
various social consequences, including
increased drug prices, and the misuse,
or overuse, of medications in ways that
have potentially adverse affects on patients (Blumenthal 2004).
In 2002, the industry spent approximately 12-15 billion dollars on marketing to doctors in the United States
alone (Blumenthal 2004). Some of the
tactics used by the pharmaceutical companies include dispensing of gifts, ghostwriting of articles for academic physicians, payments of large consulting fees
and the funding of lavish trips and entertainment for those who support the
industry’s products (Blumenthal 2004).
In addition, companies compete to target medical residents in order to build
loyalty with future doctors and to create
prescribing practices that are difficult to
change until a company invests heavily
in the development and marketing of a
newer product (Oldani 2004). Furthermore, influential faculty members are continuously targeted either to gain their support for particular products or to neutralize their opinions if they are opposed to
the products (Oldani 2004).
Drug companies pay large sums to
entice reputable physicians to publish research about their drugs without disclosing any conflicts of interest. For example,
a Brown University professor of psychiatry published research supporting the products of a pharmaceutical company, from
which he earned $556,000 of his $842,000
yearly income, without disclosing information about his relationship with the company (Oldani 2004). In addition, drug company representatives, trained in sales strategies, not only provide medical residents
with free meals, promotional items, school
supplies, and travel expenses to attend
meetings, but are also allowed to teach residents (Blumenthal 2004). It has been
shown that medical schools with strict policies restricting student contact with drug
representatives during physician training
produce residents who are more critical of
the information they receive from representatives (Detsky et al. 2001).
Currently, a common way pharmaceutical companies interact with physicians
is through continuing medical education.
It is estimated that pharmaceutical companies provide about $900 million of the
one billion spent annually on continuing
medical education in the United States
(Blumenthal 2004). Some physicians, including Marcia Angell, former editor-inchief of The New England Journal of Medicine, are sceptical of the educational value
of the information provided by pharmaceutical companies (Lexchin 2001). In
Angell’s words, “to rely on the drug companies for unbiased evaluations of their
products makes about as much sense as
relying on beer companies to teach us about
alcoholism” (Lexchin 2001). Furthermore,
companies continue to target not only individual physicians, but also the whole
- 48 -
organization, by providing financial support to the American Medical Association (Blumenthal 2004). One of the ways
to increase awareness of the potential
problems that may be caused by pharmaceutical companies is to educate and
correct misconceptions that doctors and
the medical association may have about
their interactions with pharmaceutical
companies. A substantial amount of theoretical and empirical literature, including the documented concerns of physicians about their colleagues, suggests
that many physicians may be mistaken
in believing that their interactions with
drug companies have only educational
and patient improvement value
(Blumenthal 2004). According to
Studdert et al. (2004:1898) “when a gift
or gesture of any size is bestowed, it
imposes on the recipient a sense of indebtedness. The obligation to directly
reciprocate, whether or not the recipient
is conscious of it, tends to influence
behavior.” Furthermore, research conducted within the social sciences indicates that humans are prone to a self serving bias (Blumenthal 2004). Therefore,
it would be surprising if most doctors
were not influenced by the tactics employed by pharmaceutical companies,
regardless of their training. In a study
done by Wazana (2000), physicians who
interacted with drug companies were
more likely to request the inclusion of
drugs from the pharmaceutical companies they interacted with on hospital or
health maintenance organization formularies, and more likely to prescribe these
products versus generic brands.
Not only are doctors influenced
by pharmaceutical companies through
gift giving and the provision of continuing education, but they are also being
undermined by direct-to-consumer advertising, which shifts power away from
doctors as patients go into clinics requesting specific drugs. Patient demand
creates a further incentive for increased
interaction between doctors and pharma-
ceutical companies as doctors must obtain
relevant products. In addition, patients,
like doctors, must research products
through the resources provided by pharmaceutical companies (Oldani 2004).
The work of anthropologists has
added significant insight into the problem
of pharmaceutical companies manipulating the interests and intentions of both the
medical profession and consumers through
coercive sales strategies such as playing
on the positive association between taking pills and happiness. For example,
Michael Oldani (2004) has drawn attention to the feedback loop that exists between doctors, patients, and the pharmaceutical companies aiming to increase industry profits through drug demand and
dependency. The marketing of drugs, directly to patients, raises the question of
whether drug companies are not only
manufacturing drugs but also manufacturing sicknesses (Vancouver Sun 2004). For
example, in an article in the Vancouver Sun
one pharmaceutical company’s list of
symptoms for Social Anxiety Disorder includes, “butterflies in the stomach” when
at a staff party, giving a speech or meeting
strangers (Vancouver Sun 2004:c9). These
common symptoms could be attributed to
nervousness rather than a condition needing treatment, yet pharmaceutical companies encourage consumers to see their doctors and request specific drug solutions for
their supposed problems. Over half of the
requests made by patients for specific
drugs are inappropriate for the treatment
of their complaints (Donelan et al. 2003).
However, as more patients are encouraged
to self diagnose and to make drug requests,
many believe that specific drugs are the
best cure and will doctor shop seeking the
desired prescription, thereby decreasing
the probability of developing a trusting relationship with one doctor. Further, patient
satisfaction is regularly used as a benchmark for quality of care. Therefore, some
physicians may acquiesce to such requests,
provided the patient does not suffer any
harmful effects (Donelan et al. 2003).
- 49 -
However, this changes the dynamic of
the doctor patient relationship because
the doctor is consulted for script writing
services rather than for his or her opinion about treatment options.
Doctors often perceive the specific drug demands of patients as challenges to their authority and expertise,
and the time required to thoroughly discuss the patient’s request is often considered inefficiently used and better
spent discussing valid treatment options,
including suitable drug possibilities. To
minimize the negative effects of directto-consumer advertising, physicians
must invest time to strengthen their relationships with patients. Doctors could
encourage their patients to critically
think about drug advertising while researching their patients concerns and
discussing all treatment options. This
relationship would increase patient confidence and trust in the medical advice
provided and would create a mutually
respectful relationship, ultimately buffering the effects of outside influences,
such as pharmaceutical companies, targeting this relationship.
Currently there are minimal
guidelines setting boundaries for the
behaviour of pharmaceutical companies.
The Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) was designed to help enforce safeguards but has fallen short in many respects. Further development of the authority of the FDA and enforcement of
stricter guidelines would help minimize
and limit the negative effects of pharmaceutical companies. Fraud and abuse
by pharmaceutical companies did lead
the United States federal government to
implement legislation designed to allow
federal prosecutors to investigate the
extent of illegal activity on the part of
pharmaceutical companies, chemical industries, laboratories, and various urologists (Studdert et al. 2004). The application of this legislation led to the pharmaceutical industry setting marketing
guidelines for itself in 2002 (Studdert et
al. 2004). Although the legislation is a
strong deterrent, the degree of adherence
to and self–enforcement of the imposed
guidelines is questionable. Furthermore,
as studies are being conducted which
analyze the various tactics used by pharmaceutical companies, guidelines set by
the industry for itself are becoming increasingly controversial. For instance, gift giving continues despite evidence that even
small gifts create a sense of indebtedness
leading to inappropriate prescribing behaviour (Studdert et al. 2004). Pharmaceutical companies circumvent the guidelines
set out for regulating their interactions with
physicians and for marketing their products through developing relationships with
and influencing the FDA, congress, and
those selected as neutral intermediaries.
This is best exemplified by the lack of investigation on part of the FDA before the
approval of Rofecoxib, also known as
Vioxx (Topol 2004). Without adequate trials or evidence supporting the benefits or
indicating the side effects, the drug was
used by 80 million people with sales topping two and a half billion before its withdrawal on September 30, 2004 due to various negative and potentially fatal side effects arising from its use (Topol 2004).
This situation brings into question the
FDA’s role in public health, since it has
only been given the authority to act in requesting reviews and trials by the companies prior to drug marketing. The FDA has
not been held accountable for their role in
approving Vioxx for use. If the FDA is held
responsible, perhaps a similar catastrophe
could be averted. There are also increasing numbers of lobbyists targeting members of congress, which is leading to the
lack of scrutiny on drug circulation. Further development and enforcement of legislation and guidelines, perhaps through
the FDA demanding appropriate behaviour
of pharmaceutical companies, would be a
giant stride in deterring pharmaceutical
companies from marketing unsafe products. Furthermore, by limiting the role
pharmaceutical companies have in suggest- 50 -
ing treatment options their negative influence on the delivery of health care
would be decreased. It is an indisputable
fact that pharmaceutical companies are
important in research and drug development; however, it is also essential to control and manage their interactions and influences. Through their marketing tactics,
pharmaceutical companies are altering our
ethnomedicine by influencing our perceptions of how to stay healthy, how to prevent illnesses, how to get better, and
when, why, and from whom we seek medical advice. Pharmaceutical companies target doctors through gift giving, paying
large wages, and continuing education in
the hopes of gaining the doctor’s confidence in their products. They indirectly
influence doctors by gaining the confidence of consumers who, demanding specific drugs, ultimately question the authority of the doctor by relying on the information provided by the pharmaceutical
companies. By targeting consumers, pharmaceutical companies also weaken the
relationship between physicians and their
patients which, in turn, increases the impact of negative external influences on
treatment choices.
References Cited
Blumenthal, David
2004 “Doctors and Drug Companies.” The
New England Journal of Medicine
Detsky, A., Brill-Edwards, P., McCormick, B. and
Tomlinson, G.
2001 “Effect of Restricting Contact Between
Pharmaceutical Company Representatives and Internal Medicine Residents
on Posttraining Attitudes and
Behavior.” Journal of American
MedicineAssociation 286(16):19941999.
Donelan, K., Lee, K., Lo, B., Murray, E. and
Pollack, L.
2003 “Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: Physicians’ Views of Its Effects on Quality
of Care and the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 16:513524.
Lexchin, J
2001 “Interactions Between Doctors and
Pharmaceutical Sales Respresentatives.” Editorial. Canadian Journal
of Pharmacology 8(2).
Oldani, Michael
2004 “Thick Prescriptions: Toward an Interpretation of Pharmaceutical Sales Practices.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(3):325-356.
Quinlan, Marsha
2004 “From the Bush: The Front Line of
Health Care in a Caribbean Village.
Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology.”
George Spindler, Editor. Pp. 2-3.
Studdert, D., Michelle Mello, and Troyen Brennan
2004 “Financial Conflicts of Interest in Physician’ Relationships with the Pharmaceutical Industry - Self-Regulation in
the Shadow of Federal Prosecution.”
The New England Journal of Medicine
Topol, Eric
2004 “Failing the Public Health-Rofecoxib,
Merck, and the FDA.” The New England
Vancouver Sun, The
2004 “Another Epidemic.” Oct. 30:C9.
Wazana, Ashley
2000 “Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Is a Gift Ever Just a Gift?” Journal of the American Medical Association 283(3):373-380.
By creating awareness about the tactics
pharmaceutical companies use to achieve
their goal of increasing profits, it is possible to limit their influence on physicians
who would then be more vigilant about
protecting themselves and their patients
from exploitative relationships. A large
step towards minimizing the influence of
pharmaceutical companies on the doctorpatient relationship would be for doctors
to sever all giftgiving ties (Oldani 2004).
To quote David Blumenthal’s article, the
professional organization of medicine
must reflect the values of the profession,
“so too, in the end, must the interactions
between drug companies and physicians”
(Blumenthal 2004:1889).
- 51 -
general article
Michelle Rogers
Twentieth Century Travels:
Tales of a Canadian Judoka
In 1960, Doug Rogers, my father, travelled to Japan in search of an ‘authentic’ training experience in
the martial art of judo. In this paper, a shortened version of the first chapter of my Master’s thesis, I am
interested in the act and the idea of travel: not only Rogers’ experiences of travelling to Japan, but also
how his experiences intersect with the evolution of travel practises in the West between the late 18th
century and the middle of the 20th century, and the manner in which ‘travel’ has been reviewed and
reported in anthropology.
Bibliographical Statement
Michelle graduated with an M.A. in Anthropology in June of 2005 from the University of Victoria. She
has recently been accepted for a Foreign Affairs Canada Young Professionals International placement
through the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) at Uvic. She is currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for an eight-month internship with CARAM Asia (Co-ordination of Action Research on AIDS
and Mobility).
I would like to thank my father, Doug Rogers, for his patience in allowing me explore his early life;
Andrea Walsh, my supportive, insightful thesis supervisor; and the graduate students of the Department of Anthropology at UVic, for their kindness and encouragement.
During the middle part of the 20th century the exchange and reproduction of
cultural forms and ideologies between
Japan and North America intensified as
a result of the Second World War (19391945) and the American Occupation of
Japan (1945-1952). This increased ‘culture contact’ between Japan and North
America nurtured an environment of
mutual curiosity – inspiring dreams
about an exotic ‘other’, and even en-
couraging some to travel overseas.
As a young boy living in St. Catharines,
Ontario, Doug Rogers (b. 1941), my father, became interested in Japan and the
martial arts. Captivated by “all things
Japanese,” as he says, Rogers would actively seek out ‘Japanese culture’ in
Canada, whether reading comic books
which emphasised the mystical powers of
‘super jujitsu’, eating family dinners with
- 52 -
chopsticks or taking judo lessons at the
local YMCA. His fascination with
Japan and the sport of judo ultimately
resulted in his travelling to Tokyo, Japan in 1960 in the romantic pursuit of
‘Japanese culture’ and an ‘authentic’
training experience. Rogers lived in
Tokyo for a little over five years (1960
– 1965), where he was able to hone his
abilities in judo, enabling him to succeed in the sport at both the national
(Canadian heavyweight champion
[’72, ’67, ‘66, ’65, ’64]; ’65 All Japan
University Games – gold) and international level (’67 Pan American
Games – gold and silver; ’65 Pan
American Games – gold; ’64 Olympics
– silver).
In this paper, a shortened version of the
first chapter of my Master’s thesis, I am
interested in the act and the idea of
travel: not only Rogers’ experiences of
travelling to Japan, but also how his
experiences intersect with the evolution
of travel practises in the West between
the late 18th century and the middle of
the 20th century, and the manner in which
‘travel’ has been reviewed and reported
in anthropology. I found that Rogers’
travel to Japan paralleled some of the
ideals associated with ‘romantic’ travel
undertaken by men, for the most part,
during the latter half of the 19th century
in Europe, which celebrated unconstrained impulse, individual expression,
the creative spirit and the desire to experience ‘exotic’, local colour
(Baranowski and Furlough 2001;
Duncan and Gregory 1999; Withey
1997). As Rogers said to me, there was
a certain amount of “wanting to get out
on my own.” He wanted to travel to a
Japan that, from his vantage-point in
Canada, appeared “mystical,” “exotic,”
“special,” “natural,” and “superior.”
In relation to the work being
done in anthropology on travel and tourism, I found that my interest in Rogers’
travel was not congruent with some of
the more prominent concerns in this field,
such as the moral discourse on travel (related to travel between ‘first’ and ‘third
world’ nations) (Butcher 2003; Lanfant
1995b; Strain 2003; Wilson 1993), and
definitional concerns that attempt to determine who is a ‘tourist’ and who is a ‘traveller’ (Boorstein 1961; Cocker 1992; Cohen
2001; MacCanell 1976; Risse 1998).
Rogers’ travel experiences elide easy classification. To demonstrate this point I illustrate how his experiences are in some
ways consistent with the image of the heroic, masculine adventurer-traveller, who
attempts to escape the mundane everyday
(Clark 1999; Featherstone 1995; Minh-ha
1994; Ravi 2003; Williams 1998;) – but
how, at the same time, Rogers really did
not prize ‘the journey’ above all attachment
to person or place. The stories he tells,
some of which are presented in this chapter, recall his everyday struggles of ‘getting by’ in Japan and highlight the intense
bonds he formed with individuals while he
was there. Overall, Rogers feels that his
travelling to Japan (1960-1965) furnished
him with a myriad of positive experiences
and memories. I go on to review this against
the fact thats a great deal of the theoretical
work being done on travel in anthropology
(which draws on refugee, migration and
diasporic studies) frames human movement
as an unnatural and tumultuous event
(Carey 2003; Gungwu 1997; Masquelier
2003; Sarup 1996).
To begin this exploration of Rogers’ travel
experiences to Japan I will start with the
term ‘travel’. At the most basic level travel
can be understood “as the movement between geographical locations and cultural
experiences” (Ravi 2003:1); or simply,
“movement from one place to another”
(Robertson et al. 1994:2). These minimal
descriptions, though, belie the fact that
travel is a far more complex and unsettled
matter, for travel depends upon one’s reason to move; one’s position of gender, race,
- 53 -
grims, merchants and explorers – travel
came to be seen as an end in itself, a form
of pure pleasure. Later on travel was no
longer an exclusively aristocratic preserve.
As the 19th century progressed it was increasingly construed as a quintessentially
bourgeois experience that had its origins
in the combined development of romanticism and industrialism. Romanticism effectively marked a severance with the sovereignty of Reason and, instead, glorified
unconstrained impulse, individual expression and the creative spirit (Duncan and
Gregory 1999). At the heart of ‘romantic’
travel lay a celebration of the wildness of
nature, cultural difference and the desire
to be submerged in local colour. Travel of
this type was considered to be most effective if it was unhurried, unregimented and
solitary. Even the very indeterminacy of
wandering, which the ancient Odysseus
found an ever-present burden, became the
ultimate source of freedom the Romantics
valued in travel (Leed 2001). Thus by the
19th century, travel’s most characteristic figure was the young male “fleeing the dull
repetitions and the stifling mundanity of
the bourgeois” (Duncan and Gregory 1999:
6). Parallels can be drawn if Rogers’ experiences are compared to the formal Grand
tour-type excursion and later ‘romantic’
travel. There exists the voluntariness of
Rogers’ departure; the experienced
indeterminacies of his movement; the
pleasure of travel free from strict necessity; and, perhaps most importantly, the
autonomy provided, which nurtured a sense
of independence from one context or set of
defining associations.
Rogers’ voyage needs also to be
considered against the backdrop of travel
practices in North America during the early
and middle parts of the 20th century. Within
North America the initial wave of mass
tourism took place during the 1920s and
1930s, as transportation costs dropped, tour
companies expanded, leisure time increased, paid holidays became more common, car ownership expanded, and motel
chains made lodging more affordable
class, and ethnicity; and one’s relations
to place, power and identity (Roberson
2001). Under the umbrella of ‘travel’
such disparate experiences as a seaside
vacation, a shopping trip to the mall,
political exile, and immigration have
been theorised and reported. At one end
there is travel as movement between
fixed locations with self-arranged departure and arrival points, and the intimation of an eventual return. Whereas the
other end is marked by variations of
migrancy, suggesting that neither departure nor arrival are immutable or certain, and the privilege of “domesticating the detour” is all but an impossibility (Chambers 1994:5). This being said,
it is difficult to slot Rogers’ travel to
Japan at one point on the spectrum –
one’s experience of travel, particularly
one’s freedom, can shift markedly over
the course of a trip – but, for the moment, Rogers’ experience can readily be
compared to Clifford’s (1997) definition
of travel. One that sees travel as a set
of more or less voluntarist practices of
leaving ‘home’ to go some ‘other’ place
for the purpose of gain: material, spiritual, scientific. A process that involves
obtaining knowledge and/or having an
‘experience’ – that is often exciting,
edifying, pleasurable, estranging, and/
or broadening. This is a description that
is built upon a classic understanding of
travel that is predominantly Westerndominated, strongly male and middle or
upper class.
Leisure travel prior to the late
18th and early 19th centuries in Europe
was principally the prerogative of aristocrats and other wealthy elites. Privileged young men participated in the
embodiment of leisure travel, the Grand
Tour, which enhanced their cultural education, health and pleasure (Baranowski
and Furlough 2001), and furnished them
with a “socially acceptable form of escape” (Withey 1997:3). Rather than a
necessary evil and the source of great
suffering – a burden to be borne by pil- 54 -
(Shaw and Williams 1994). Baranowski
and Furlough’s examination of tourism
and vacation policies at this time reveals
an “emphasis on tourism and vacations
as a means toward social and national
harmony, as well as their potential to
mitigate conflict and promote the ‘democratisation of leisure’ through expanded access to leisure practices connoting social prestige” (2001: 1889:16).
The advantages of tourism and vacations
were touted for workers’ health, hygiene
and, ultimately, productivity upon return
to the workplace. The Second World
War furthered this enthusiasm for moving outside one’s home, as millions of
North Americans had earlier left the
boundaries of their community to assist
in the War effort. After the War, popular magazines and newspapers filled
their pages with helpful advice aimed
at assisting uninitiated travellers, highlighting and debating the benefits of
travel for both the individual and the
family unit. With nation, commerce and
sentiment intersecting, “Holidays had
become almost a marker of citizenship,
a right to pleasure” (Dubinsky 2001:
325). Ultimately this (illusion of) freedom supplied by the regime of
commodified leisure was a precious
thing during the early and middle part
of the 20th century as the “shades of the
modern prison-house [were] closing in,
when the passports and queues and
guided tours and social security number
and customs regulations and currency
controls [were] beginning gradually to
constrict life” (Fussell 2001:106). But
just like the paint-by-numbers kits that
flourished during the rigid McCarthy
era, one was expected to travel within
the lines.
Rogers did not navigate entirely
within the lines. The general furore and
acceptability of travel during the 1950s
played on his thoughts about going elsewhere, but his voyage to Japan marked
a step outside the boundaries of the wellworn, pedestrian journeys to such places
as the National parks or Niagara Falls.
Rogers’ conservative, religious parents
were particularly concerned about and opposed to his declaration to go to Japan, for
Japan was an alien territory to them, a place
populated by a people that had been ‘the
enemy’ in the not-so-distant past. Rogers’
decision did not fall in line with the Canadian identity-reinforcing travel practices of
the time. It was instead a choice steeped
in the romantic desires of exploration, experience and ‘other’. Furthermore, it is
possible to glimpse in Rogers’ travel a rejection of certain facets of modern life in
Canada during the middle part of the 20th
century. Rogers was not yet netted into the
daily grind of employment by the time he
left for Japan, but he was well aware of
limitations and responsibilities afforded by
such circumstances. His father was a
United Church minister and, at one time, a
chaplain onboard a Canada naval ship during the Second World War; thus Rogers was
privy to the social, economic and political
obligations that were part and parcel of Canadian church and military life. Dreaming
of Japan – an ‘exotic’ land of ‘authentic’
traditions – offered Rogers an escape from
the expectations of his parents and peers at
school in Montreal. His parents expected
him to pursue the routine, respectable and
economically secure existence of either a
doctor or lawyer. Yet he found organised
student life at McGill University tedious
and bland when compared to the excitement
of training in the dojo and the allure of participating in the sport of judo, something
that felt outside the rules and habits of his
everyday life in Canada. He mentioned that
his attendance at McGill during this time
was “not what it should have been” because
he was “trying to practise at dojos all over
Over and over again in our conversations Rogers would use such adjectives
as ‘unique’, ‘traditional’, ‘special’, ‘pure’,
‘superior’, ‘mystical’, and ‘artistic’ to describe the Japan that he imagined as a teenager living in Montreal. Compared to
Canada, Japan was ‘authentic’. This is
- 55 -
consistent with MacCanell’s belief that
“for moderns, reality and authenticity
are thought to be elsewhere: in other
historical periods and other cultures, in
purer, simpler lifestyles” (1976:3). It
also speaks to Chambers perspective
that “to go elsewhere to find such ‘authenticity’” perpetuates that drive “to
return to the beginning, no longer our
own, but that of the other who is now
requested to carry the burden of representing our desire” (1994:71). The version of Japan that Rogers constructed for
himself in Canada was a Japan that was
‘natural’ or ‘traditional’, that existed for
its own sake – a Japan that lay in opposition to life in North America where
almost everything appeared devised and
structured for profit, and under market
control (Strain 2003). The important
point to note here is that the ‘authenticity’ Rogers assigned to Japan was not
necessarily ‘real’, but created by Rogers
based upon contingent circumstances
and ideas. In truth, it was the Japanese
who actively revised their own history,
articulating and practising ‘authentic’
traditions for self-serving reasons – and
not to quench the desire of Western travellers in search of the harmonious, simple life (Igarashi 2000; Lie 2001).
Moreover, Japan could be described as
‘modern’ by the time Rogers arrived
there in 1960 (Minear 1980). To analyse Rogers’ experiences entirely in relation to the simplistic authenticinauthentic couplet is theoretically unsound, but this fantasy image of Japan
as ‘the land of tradition’ remained a consistent theme when Rogers spoke of his
early reasons for travelling there.
Rogers pieced together an image and understanding of Japan and the
sport of judo in Canada based on a variety of sources: comic books, movies,
books about judo, advertisements, and
participating in judo in Montreal – all
of which played upon his imagination
and fuelled his desire to travel to ‘exotic’ Japan. It should also be noted that
these sources often did not come directly
from Japan, but were mediated through
non-Japanese individuals who had (some)
knowledge of Japan and its customs, and
in turn packaged this information in one
form or another for consumption outside
of Japan.
DR: When I was in Victoria – I think I was there
when I was four-and-a-half, sometime after that
– I used to read comic books, and on the backs
of these comic books there would be advertisements, secret jujitsu or combat judo. Sometimes in the comic books themselves the characters would have knowledge of this mystical
Asian fighting art. This really intrigued me, so
at an early age I started thinking about the
martial arts as something very spectacular,
very mystical, and it was something that the
Japanese had knowledge of. I think even then
I was determined to seek out and learn as much
as I could about it…I used to go to the library,
whether it was the city public library or the
school library, and search for as many books
as I could on Japan and the martial arts. And
then sometime in the early fifties there were a
few publications starting to come out, which
you could buy at the news stand. Some of them
were specific to judo – some were written by
the Japanese, some by Europeans, and some
were the result of Caucasians who had come in
contact [with the martial arts] because of the
War. You just started to see this interest…Most
of my information was second hand; I had no
firsthand information…I remember one movie
I saw before I went to Japan called Sayonara
(1957) with Marlon Brando, and again there
was just an idea that almost everything Japanese had to be good, and I guess it was because
I got so caught up in judo, this system seemed
so perfect. I was having such a good time competing and practising. I just knew I had to go
to Japan.
From Rogers’ commentary on his early interest in judo and Japan it is possible to
glean the singular importance that the imagination plays in the lives of people in the
20th century. Writing elegantly on this point,
Appadurai argues that there is a peculiar
new force to the imagination in social life
More persons in more parts of the
- 56 -
world consider a wider set of “possible”
lives than they ever did before. One important source of this change is the mass
media, which present a rich, ever-changing store of possible lives, some of
which enter the lived imaginations of
ordinary people more successfully than
others…That is, fantasy is now social
practice; it enters, in a host of ways, into
the fabrication of social lives for many
people in many societies (1991:197198).
Overall, my interest in Rogers’ travel
to Japan is a departure from some of the
more popular concerns of anthropologists who study travel and tourism.
Up until the 1970s, anthropology largely ignored travel and tourism
(Wilson 1993). The reason for the lacuna in the analytical development of
travel was partly a function of leisure
travel being considered a side issue to
the more serious business of industrial
production (Meethan 2001). Yet a few
scholars were successful in establishing
leisure travel as a topic worthy of serious investigation during the 1970s, demonstrating its social, economic and political significance in contemporary life.
For the most part, though, the discussion of leisure travel has continued to
circle around moral and definitional
Travel and tourism are frequently determined to be either ‘bad’
or ‘good’ (Butcher 2003). Travel is either a fatuous interaction between the
privileged ‘first world’ and an
objectified class of ‘third world’ others;
or it is reviewed positively because tourists are confronted with a radically different culture that confounds and challenges their Western epistemologies
(Strain 2003). In the first case the ‘third
world’ performs a degraded form of their
native culture for a moneyed audience,
perpetuating economic dependence,
stunted industrial development and power
relations smacking of colonialism. In this
perspective the traveller is condemned as
a harbinger of globalisation, sweeping away
diversity in his or her wake (Butcher 2003).
Alternatively, the second ‘utopic’ model
argues that tourists’ dollars provide an economic impetus for preserving indigenous
traditions and staving off the encroachment
of homogenising forces (Strain 2003).
It cannot be ignored that the tourism industry is often a transmission belt of
post-industrial ‘sending’ societies and developing ‘receiving’ nations on the end
(Kinnaird et al. 1994; Lanfant 1995a,
1995b; Wilson 1993), but this type of unequal exchange did not occur between Japan and Canada. These two nations have
never been involved in an unequal, hierarchical tourism dynamic, as both countries
have progressed industrially, militarily and
technologically over the past century (Lie
2001; Minear 1980; Nitobe 1931). This
makes a moral discussion based on the nondeveloped – developed binary, in this case,
theoretically unsound.
Anthropologists interested in travel
have been equally concerned with who is a
‘tourist’ and who is a ‘traveller’, and how
their journeys differ. The preoccupation
with this distinction has early roots. Tourists were thought to be more socially diverse than their elite predecessors on the
Grand Tour, and were instead marked as
part of the modern mob or crowd. European tourists stimulated class anxieties in
the wake of the French Revolution about
the mobility of the lower orders of society
(Buzard 1993). The perceived inundation
by tourists visiting continental capitals,
viewing the Alps and touring the favoured
destinations of the elite Grand Tour,
prompted ‘travellers’ to assert their cultural
superiority. Elite travellers proposed that
they possessed an ‘authentic’ (as opposed
to passively received) knowledge about
these locations, and had an originality and
self-sufficiency in judgement that tourists
lacked (Baranowski and Furlough 2001).
Leaning on this early distinction between
- 57 -
tourists and travellers, Boorstein argued
that the traveller was working at something, but the tourist was a mere pleasure-seeker: “The traveler was active; he
went strenuously in search of people, of
adventure, of experience. The tourist is
passive; he expects interesting things to
happen to him” (1961:85). For
Boorstein, tourism was diluted, contrived and prefabricated, and it lay in
opposition to the sophisticated pleasures
sought by the well-prepared, intellectual
man. Yet MacCanell (1976) later reasoned against Boorstein’s strict dichotomy, finding that many tourists also
actively demanded and searched for authenticity, just as many travellers do.
Consistent among most definitions of a ‘traveller’ appears to be an
emphasis on the discomfort with the
journey. Cocker writes that “travellers
thrive on the alien, the unexpected, even
the uncomfortable and challenging”
(1992:2); and Fussell (1980) remarks
that travel is to work and suffer. For
etymologically a traveller is one who
endures travail, a word that is derived
from the Latin word trepalium – a torture instrument consisting of three
stakes designed to rack the body
(Robertson et al. 1994). According to
Risse (1998), differentiating between
travellers and tourists on the basis of
physical toughness is one of the most
popular means to solidify the boundary
between the two groups; however, she
suggests that there are four other ways:
how much a person knows about a country visited, how much money the person
has, where the person is travelling, and
when the person is travelling. Risse
wanders into the definitional thicket
when she declares that “travellers make
all the logistical decisions about their
trip; tourists don’t. A traveller, thus, is
journey…Tourists, as I use the term
without negative implications, follow
someone else’s agenda” (1998: 48).
Cohen (2001) expands the tourist-trav-
eller division, offering instead what he describes as the five main modes of touristic
experiences: recreational, diversionary, experiential, experimental, and existential.
They are ranked so that they span the spectrum between the experience of the “tourist as the traveller in pursuit of ‘mere’
pleasure in the strange and the novel, to
that of the modern pilgrim in quest of meaning at somebody else’s centre” (Cohen
Pulling away from these directions
in the study of travel and tourism, I do not
want to examine Rogers’ narrative in an
effort to determine whether his travel experiences were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or to conclude whether he was a ‘traveller’ or a
‘tourist’. Personal histories of travel offer
a chance to explore the specific factors that
motivate people to go abroad and their experiences once they arrive in a foreign
place. What is of interest to me in Rogers’
story was his desire to travel to Japan, that
was based on his construction of Japanese
culture in Canada, and the unique experiences that he had in Japan that were contingent upon his decision to stay and train
in this country between 1960 and 1965. To
work towards tidily determining whether
Rogers was a tourist or a traveller would
ignore the complicated reality of his experiences and how they elide easy classification. To demonstrate this point, I outline
in the next section how Rogers’ travel experiences were, in many ways, heavily
steeped in a romantic, masculine travel
rhetoric. But how, at the same time, his
travels defy such a simple reading. He was
not the steady, observing adventurer;
oftentimes he was uncertain and lonely,
especially during the first year he was there.
It could be argued that Rogers’
travel to Japan was an escape from the quotidian, mundane routine of everyday life in
Canada. It could also be said that his journey was a quest for greatness in the area of
judo, signalling a dash of the ‘heroic’.
DR: I had not done judo all across Canada before I left, just in Montreal, and I had gone up
- 58 -
to Toronto a few times…and I had won a
few championships locally against some reasonably good fellows. I was determined to
go to Japan to outstrip them all, to learn
judo. It wasn’t to go to the Olympics, it was
to become really, really good at judo. Otherwise I could have gone anywhere, I suppose. I suppose I wanted to leave home too.
There was a certain bit of that, wanting to
get out on my own.
As Rogers sailed away from
Canada he was leaving behind the comforting, cosy environment of home. In
the mid-20th century, middle and upper
class Canada, ‘home’ represented civility and the social contract, not to mention compromise: home, for most, was
associated with monogamy, propriety,
respectability, ‘the law’, organised religion, and cleanliness. Alternatively,
the open road and the sea “all bespeak
something ‘strange’, perhaps ‘wonderful’, not ‘settled’; liberty, movement,
sometimes even lawlessness, in the wilderness wild” (Williams 1998: xxi-xxii).
The inclination to travel can be strong,
for there is the pull of the unknown and
the push to extricate one’s self from the
well-trodden paths of domestic life.
Despite the physical and existential difficulties travel often entails, it deeply
satisfies the desire for detours and
displacements in our new global circumstances (Minh-ha 1994). The dialect of
travel – “the affirmative sense of
groundlessness and the negative pleasure of displacement” (Ravi 2003: 2) –
emerges as a desired space to inhabit.
And the ‘time out’ of travelling works
to delay the otherwise irrevocable passage of time; one can escape the present
and choose to bask in the unhurried and
traditional pleasures of the ‘other’.
There can even be an oedipal
resonance to ‘the journey’. The moment
of departure represents the son’s refusal
to stay within the household and so he
defies paternal authority by embarking
on a rite of passage from adolescence to
adulthood. “Travel might thus be seen,
in highly abstract terns, as a refutation of
the father, and a denial of intimacy with
the mother” (Clark 1999: 19). Lévi-Strauss
(1964) suggests that Western adolescents
feel compelled to get clear, by one means
or another, of civilisation: some climb
mountains, some go far below the ground
and others escape horizontally to penetrate
some foreign land. This outer journey of
physical and spatial mobility can function
as a metaphor for the interior journey of
the soul, mind or consciousness that is said
to mark the maturation process of the adolescent. Freud, speaking of his own desire
to travel, writes:
My longing to travel was no
doubt also the expression of a
wish to escape from that pressure, like the force which drives
so many adolescent children to
run away from home. I had
long seen clearly that a great
part of the pleasure of travel
lies in the fulfilment of their
early wishes – that it is rooted,
that is, in dissatisfaction with
home and family. When first
one catches sight of the sea,
crosses the ocean and experiences as realities cities and
lands which for so long had
been distant, unattainable
things of desire – one feels oneself like a hero who has performed deeds of improbable
greatness, (1973:247).
Intimately connected to this masculine, adolescent adventuring is the idea
of the ‘heroic life’. To talk of the ‘heroic
life’ is to risk sounding dated, as scholarship in the post-colonial era has long sustained strong counter-cultural traditions
favouring an anti-heroic ethos. Recent
scholarship leans more towards a valuation
of the popular and the detritus of everyday
mass and consumer cultures, than the idiosyncratic and the exceptional. Yet strands
of the ‘heroic’ appear to be woven through
Rogers’ story. If everyday life is principally
aligned with the taken for granted, com- 59 -
mon sense pursuits of wealth, property
and earthly love, then the heroic life
points to the opposite qualities: extraordinary deeds, virtuosity, courage, endurance, and the capacity to attain distinction. The heroic life points to a life
“fashioned by fate or will, in which the
everyday is viewed as something to be
tamed, resisted or denied, something to
be subjugated in the pursuit of a higher
purpose” (Featherstone 1995:55).
Nietzsche went so far as to label as ‘genius’ the qualities of energy, endurance,
seriousness, and single-mindedness with
which the individual may approach the
project of living a fulfilled, authentic
life; where one thinks and acts in a particular direction, using everything he or
she experiences to that end. In this way,
we can see how Rogers turned away
from ordinary life in Canada in his singular effort to pursue excellence in the
sport of judo, which ultimately led to
success at the international level, affording him a degree of fame both in Japan
and Canada.
If Rogers’ experiences are read
as a compact overture they could be
viewed as an unfolding of the poetic
travel narrative: the departure, the
crossover, the wandering, the discovery,
the return, and the transformation
(Minh-ha 1994). In this tale, Rogers
departs from the everyday sphere of care
and maintenance, only to return the hero
of his chosen quest – but such a closed
reading as this would be incomplete and
simply incorrect. If the heroic traveller’s space is marked by a reduction of
everything and everyone to raw material – “an existence of temporary pickups and friendships, of people dropped
as soon as met, of indifferent, deep egoism of moving for moving’s sake”
(Raban 1986:183) – then these are circumstances that cannot be found in
Rogers’ story. I would not characterise
Rogers as the categorising onlooker who
subordinates all interests in others to a
kind of primal narcissism: a fellow that
prizes ‘the journey’ above all other human
attachments (Clark 1999). If his original
reasons for travelling to Japan are glazed
with the romantic, his actual stay in Japan
is marked by an acute sense of the day-today logistics of getting by and stories that
involve the friends he made during his stay
there. During our stay in Tokyo, Rogers
recalled his first days in Tokyo, forty-three
years earlier, as we stood in front of the
Kodokan, the official judo-training hall.
This memory emphasises that he was anything but a swaggering adventurer.
DR: After I arrived at the Kodokan, my second day here, I was feeling a little bit lost. I
didn’t know where to go. All the surroundings
were strange, etc. I started out really timidly
by just going out across the street from the
Kodokan to the coffee shops…For a couple of
weeks I would be in there every day. They took
pity on me and a couple of the girls would come
over and sit down and try to cheer me up. Later
on one of the girls and her boyfriend took me
to see a baseball game…They knew I had just
come over and I was only nineteen.
Admissions such as this suggest that instead of searching out the obvious moments
of arrogance and self-assured chauvinism
in travel stories, post-colonial critiques
might also address points of unravelling,
conflict and uncertainty in the travelling
subject (Musgrove 1999). Here we see
Rogers in his first days in Tokyo rather
lonely and even searching for some type of
stabilising routine through his repeat visits to the coffee shops. Travel can also have
its oddly passive aspects; it can be boring
at times, requiring tolerance or repetition,
as much as the ability to surmount enormous ordeals. Life elsewhere can be much
like life at home, filled in with “insipid
details” and “incidents of no significance”
(Lévi-Strauss 1964:17). Most trials are of
the minor variety and one slowly becomes
accustomed to a slightly different rhythm
of life. Looking at a photograph of a futon
in one his apartments, Rogers was reminded of the familiar presence of cockroaches in Japan.
- 60 -
DR: This little picture here, it brings back
memories. That’s my futon on the floor. I
had a little apartment that was four-and-ahalf, five tatamis [Japanese mats] and I had
a little gas burner in the corner for cooking, a Bunsen burner. And I shared this with
a lot of cockroaches. You can’t find an
apartment without them. Even some of the
best hotels, if you look hard enough (actually, you don’t have to look very hard) you
can find the odd cockroach. We’d often find,
sometimes, a little bit of a leg in our soup in
some places, some places more than others,
but we’d always consider it a little bit of
extra protein. It’s a funny thing, once you’re
living in Japan – I think this goes for any
country – you kind of get used to the standard and no big deal.
For the most part, when Rogers
reflects upon his time in Japan, he tends
to relate stories about the relationships
he formed while living in Tokyo and how
much he enjoyed his time there. It is
apparent that his time in Japan was not
composed of a series of fleeting accidental encounters, in which the journeying ego removes all alternate ties. Japan was a place where he came of age,
developed important and lasting bonds
with other individuals, and intensely
practised the sport he loved. Even his
attachments to his routines in Japan and
his friends there made his transition
back to life in Canada all the more difficult. He was reminded of the difficulties of leaving Japan when he saw a photograph of himself at the airport about
to leave Japan.
DR: When I left Japan to come back to Canada
the judo team came to the airport to see me off.
I had to give a little speech in Japanese. I think
they gave me a big bottle of sake to take home
with me. I was supposed to go back to Japan. I
couldn’t do it.
MR: How come?
DR: I was torn. It was very difficult. I had
some opportunities [in Japan]. They weren’t
really in areas that I thought of myself doing
long term. In the back of my mind I perhaps
had the idea that I would like to get into flying
and I realised if I didn’t get back and start at
that I would have a difficult time getting employment. As tough as it was, I made that
choice. They phoned me a lot and wrote me,
waited for me to come back. They were still
looking at me as one of their big guns.
Rogers also spoke about the importance of his relationships in Japan and how
leaving Japan effected him while we were
relaxing at an inn in Morioka, Japan after
we had spent the day visiting the dojo at
Fuji University.
MR: It was interesting when you said you
grew up in Japan to that fellow.
DR: Oh yeah; well, it’s true. I came at nineteen
- 61 -
and, of course, I had always moved around
in Canada. I had never lived in a place for
more than six or seven years because of my
Dad’s – your grandpa’s – work. We kept
moving so it was difficult to get life-long
friends. I was nineteen when I came to Japan, so I made a lot of friends while I was
here and they were very formative years for
me, so when I went back to Canada, off to
Vancouver where I had never lived before,
it was difficult. I met people in Vancouver
through judo, but all my real friends for the
last five years were Japanese, even those
that weren’t Japanese, were living in Japan.
I really felt out of place for quite a while,
and then I missed the activity of judo because I was used to doing a very high level
of judo and everything was geared towards
that. Practices weren’t challenging and I
missed the high level of physical activity. To
have to back off from that kind of physical
conditioning was kind of traumatic for me.
It was hard to handle at times. I started
teaching eventually, but it wasn’t the same.
Where you’re aware that you’re losing your
edge, it’s kind of difficult. At a time when I
could have been getting stronger, that was
difficult. I was always looking back to Japan, and there I was at twenty-five or
twenty-six thinking of the ‘good old days’.
But anyway, that worked its way out…It was
such a big part of my life, plus it was a lot of
fun too. Training was good. Training was
hard, very enjoyable. It was its own reward,
training and the fellas that I was with. Just
to leave that cold turkey was difficult.
tempting to find ways to make money so
he could eat and put a roof over his head.
Yet the majority of the time when he concludes a story about his time in Japan, he
references how his stay was such a positive experience for him: “We had a lot of
good times together, that’s for sure”; “Good
times, really good times”; “I had a good
time; it was really interesting”; “A great
experience”; “ A lot of fun”; “Judo was such
a big part of my life, plus it was a lot of fun
too”; “It was a great time. I really enjoyed
the county.” He was able to travel to Japan and enjoy the pure freedom of choice,
and was made to feel welcomed by the majority of the people he met while he stayed
there. The idea that he perceived his time
in Japan to be, for the most part, a positive
experience, can be reviewed against the fact
that a great deal of the work on human
movement in anthropology frames mobility as a tumultuous and painful event.
After reviewing the current literature on
travel and human movement in anthropology – outside the self-described ‘smaller
circles’ of tourism and leisure studies in
anthropology (Kinnarid et al. 1994; Lanfant
1995a; Meethan 2001; Wilson 1993) – I
was struck by the degree to which the theoretical work on mobility is analysed and
presented in principally negative terms. A
situation that led Featherstone to remark,
“it is difficult to encounter positive images
of mobility and migration, although they
doubtless exist” (1997:258). There is a
great deal of excellent ethnographic work
on mobility, most of which focuses on migration (Coutin 2003; Guarnizo 1997;
Gungwu 1997; Kearney 1986), and refugee (Kismaric 1989; Malkki 1995, 1992;
Pellizzi 1988) and diasporic experiences
(Foner 2001; Stoller 2002; Sullivan 2001).
These studies bring to our attention the
harrowing experiences of those who are
often stunned and traumatised by events
that propelled or forced them from their
place of residence. I would argue, though,
There exists a human tendency
to review the past through a rose-tinted
lens, but I think it is accurate to say that
Rogers felt that his stay in Japan was a
positive experience for him. But he did
have difficulties when he was there. The
first year Rogers was in Japan was not
easy. He was injured for most of that
year and he had to sell his return boat
ticket back to Canada in order to have
enough money to buy food and pay rent.
Overall, living in Japan was not effortless for Rogers: he was lonely at first,
learning a new language, becoming acquainted with a different way of life,
struggling with injuries, trying to establish new social relationships, and at- 62 -
that this type of work has had an impact
on the theoretical developments in study
of human movement in anthropology. It
has influenced anthropologists’ conception of travel, reinforcing the belief that
travel is a generally unnatural and disorienting event (Barber 1997). To talk
of human movement is to talk of the
“crippling sorrow of homelessness”
(Minh-ha 1994:12); the “agonies of isolation, loneliness, and alienation that
most migrants [share]” (Gungwu 1997:
6); “the road as a part of a complex
economy of violence, power and blood”
(Masquelier 2002:829); and to believe
that the new arrival feels him- or herself a ‘burden’, a ‘disturbance’ and an
‘embarrassment’. Narratives of home
and displacement reflect a “global
drama of violence and misery”
(Robertson et al. 1994:2); “where the
Third World grates against the first and
bleeds” (Anzaldúa 2001:235). It has
even been suggested that the deviant has
been replaced by the immigrant: “In traditional folklore, there were demons,
witches, devils. Now we have visible
deviants: the foreigners” (Sarup 1996:
12). This is a climate that has lead Said
to remark upon the fact that the phenomenon of untimely massive wandering remains “strangely compelling to
think about but terrible to experience”
(1990: 237-8, emphasis mine). Even the
leisure traveller on an extended trip suffers from a certain negative evaluation:
estranged from her native soil the traveller is thought to lose her original sense
of place and acquire other loyalties, subsequently putting her at odds with her
‘home’ society upon return (Carey
In pointing out many anthropologists’ attachment to the most dramatic and upsetting modes of mobility,
I do not mean to suggest that anthropologists and others should ignore this
focus. To determine the negative effects
of (often compulsory) relocation on individuals and groups – particularly those
who are poorly educated, maintain lowerincomes and have strong attachments to
their homes, land and livelihood – is deeply
important work (Scudder 2001). What I
am suggesting is that we aim to untangle
the specifics of all types of movement experiences – travel, exploration, migration,
tourism, refugeeism, pastoralism, nomadism, pilgrimage, trade, exile, war, and so
on – in an effort to establish a theoretical
base of greater nuance from which to grasp
the motivations and effects of moving
around in the world. For many, mobility is
not a violent disturbance, but simply a contour of everyday life. For example, de
Bruijn et al. argues that mobility in its ubiquity is fundamental to any understanding
of African social life:
Another crucial element of the
present approach is how to
move away from the interpretation of migration or mobility
as a ‘rupture’ in society, as the
result of a social system in disarray. Many forms of mobility
are a part of life and making a
livelihood. In some societies,
not being mobile may be the
anomaly…What we argue is
that sedentarity, i.e. remaining
within set borders or cultural
boundaries, might instead by
perceived by some as an act of
escaping from social obligations. Through travelling, connections are established, and
continuity, experience and modernity negotiated, (2001:2).
Rasmussen (1998), who works among the
Kel Ewey Tuareg, a seminomadic society
who predominate in the Air Mountains of
north-eastern Niger, illustrates how home
spaces are as important as travel spaces.
She explains how these spaces cannot be
rigidly separated, and understanding one requires an examination of the other. The
central point being that travel should be
viewed not solely through the recent modernist, transnational lens of current up- 63 -
come increasingly sensitive to disunities,
fragmentation, contestation, pluralism, and
the processual nature of culture and social
life (Wolf 1983).
Anthropologists have now, for the
most part, accepted that it is an oversimplification and a misreading of history to
assume that people have only ever had one
home and one culture in a single location/
nation (Settles 2001). Yet they continue to
fret over peoples’ homelessness, their lack
of attachment to particular territorial locations, and to worry about their getting lost
in an increasingly face-paced and disorienting global space (Braudrillard 1989,
1983; Jameson 1984). It is true that this
space can be lonely and even violent. bell
hooks (1995) is correct to remind us that
privileged travel is not an idea that can be
easily evoked to talk about the Middle Passage, The Trail of Tears, the landing of
Chinese immigrants, or the forced relocation of Japanese Americans; but this does
not mean we should ignore the lives of the
growing number of individuals, such as
Rogers, who are able to be comfortably ‘at
home’ in more than one location (or in transit itself!), practising a different or mixed
cultural set. Having recognised this “multiplication of secondary residences” (Butor
2001: 79), the questions now become: how
do people make themselves comfortable or
‘at home’ under such circumstances, and
what, specifically, encourages individuals
to live elsewhere? I believe part of the
answer to the first question regarding ‘comfort’ connects to the idea that culture is primarily a thing of relationships rather than
territory (Hannerz 1992). If one is able to
(and desires to) engage in a particular constellation of social relations that meet and
weave together at a particular locus, then
one is able to minimise the negative feelings frequently associated with isolation
and alienation (Massey 2001). Remember
that most of Rogers’ stories concern the
friends he made while he was in Japan, and
refer to his participation in activities (e.g.
judo practice, teaching English and attending the Japanese University) that would
heaval and crisis, but also the lens of
long-standing local notions about travel,
strangers and distance. While the work
done by de Bruijin et al. (2001) and
Rasmussen (1998) differs markedly
from my own work on Rogers’ travel
experiences, these anthropologists do
highlight the importance of understanding travel from the position of the local
actor(s) and how travel can be a normal
part of life.
Part of the reason for anthropologists’ viewing mobility negatively
stems from the fact that the movement
of people and their cultural baggage disrupts earlier definitions of culture, nation, home, and identity. These are definitions that were founded on the presupposition of a radical difference between
self and other, here and there, the West
and the ‘third world’ (Lavie and
Swedenburg 1996). Travel has since
complicated anthropology’s most prized
concept, ‘culture’, in that the early 20th
century image of this institution was
highly localised, settled, holistic, and
boundary-oriented (Appadurai 1990;
Hannerz 1992). This image drew upon
a nostalgic construction of a communitybased preindustrial collective where
there was minimal reference to the leakages of people and culture (Geertz 1995;
Gungwu 1997). All elements of social
and cultural life were thought to hang
together, with groups possessing distinctive cultures that needed to be interpreted in their own terms (Gupta and
Ferguson 1997a, 1997b). But individuals have undoubtedly been more mobile
and cultures less attached to particular
territories than static, categorising approaches would suggest. The recent
technological explosion, largely in the
domains of transportation and information, has encouraged “a new condition
of neighborliness – even with those most
distant” (Appadurai 1990: 2), which
subjects older conceptions of culture and
identity to strain and fatigue. This necessitates anthropologists having to be- 64 -
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general article
Jennifer M. Sankey
Fitting Indigenous Rights to
Land & Resources into International
Human Rights Law:
The Challenge of Advocating Within
a State-centred System
The author questions whether it is effective to advocate for indigenous rights to land and resources in
international human rights arena, given the state-centered structure of international law. The author
examines why indigenous peoples have historically been excluded from the international legal arena;
why the structure of international law causes challenges for the recognition of indigenous peoples’
rights; why rights to land and resources are necessary components of indigenous peoples’ fundamental human rights; and in what ways indigenous rights to land and resources have been recognized in
international human rights doctrine over the past several decades.
Biographical Statement
The author is a graduate student in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. She is currently
completing an LL.M. thesis that explores the possibility of advocating for indigenous rights within
multilateral trade regimes.
I would like to gratefully thank Professor Catherine Morris and Professor John Borrows for their
helpful comments and suggestions in reviewing earlier versions of this paper.
The failure of state governments to recognize indigenous peoples’1 rights to
land and resources is a common problem for indigenous peoples throughout
the world.2 In most cases, even in states
where governments have legislated recognition of indigenous rights, indigenous
peoples have yet to realize these rights
in any tangible way (United Nations
Subcommision on the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights [UNSPPHR]
2001). The lack of state response to their
demands has caused indigenous peoples to
look beyond state borders to pursue their
claims at the international level. Indeed,
the international indigenous rights movement has gained significant momentum
over the past several decades and the international human rights arena can now be
seen as a point of convergence where in- 69 -
digenous peoples throughout the world
are uniting to act in a concerted fashion
to bring their perspectives to the international community (Corntassel and
Primeau 1995:360).
Some scholars maintain that the
international indigenous rights movement has created a distinct space for
indigenous peoples in global human
rights debates and is causing the emergence of an international legal framework that addresses human rights specific to indigenous peoples (Anaya 2004;
Barsh 1994). Others argue, however,
that little advancement has been made
in terms of practical recognition of these
rights and that additional, and/or alternative, avenues of advocacy need to be
explored (Alfred and Corntassel 2004).
Thus, one is led to question what, if any,
progress has been made by indigenous
peoples in the international human rights
arena, and whether it is effective to pursue claims for rights to land and resources within its domain. This paper
attempts to answer these questions by
examining: 1) why indigenous peoples
have historically been excluded from the
international legal arena; 2) why the
structure of international human rights
law causes challenges for the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights; 3)
why rights to land and resources are
necessary components of indigenous
peoples’ fundamental human rights; and
4) how indigenous peoples’ rights to
land and resources have come to be recognized and protected in various international human rights conventions and
declarations over the past several decades.
International law emerged following the
1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the
Thirty Years War in Europe and laid the
foundation for a new political order that
was based on a system of sovereign states.
Westphalian sovereignty holds that each
state exercises supreme and exclusive rule
over its territorial jurisdiction and is free
from interference by other states. International law developed in accordance with
the Westphalian system and was heavily
influenced by Emmerich de Vattel’s treatise, The Law of Nations, or The Principles of Natural Law (1758), which proposes
the idea of having a discrete body of law
concerned exclusively with states (Anaya
2004: 20). From Vattel’s work emerged
positivist notions of international law being the product of state treaties and custom, and thus international law became a
legal system based solely on the consent of
states (Meijknecht 2001: 4). From the nineteenth century through to the latter half of
the twentieth century, the prevailing positivist international law doctrine held that
only sovereign states could be subjects of
international law in the sense of enjoying
an international legal personality and being capable of possessing international
rights and duties, including rights to bring
international claims. Underlying this positivist notion of the state was the idea that
human societies could be understood according to an individual-state dichotomy
(Anaya 2004:20). This dichotomy, which
heavily influenced the development of
Western liberal thought, acknowledged the
rights of the state on the one hand, and individuals on the other, but did not account
for the rights of intermediary groups, such
as indigenous peoples, that might exist in
between (Anaya 2004:20).
Strongly rooted in a Western world
view, the state-centered international law
system developed to facilitate colonial patterns promoted by European states. When
European colonial powers settled in and
gradually overtook indigenous peoples’
lands, the colonial powers became recognized in international law as the sovereign
The Exclusion of Indigenous Peoples
from International Law
The classical state-centered structure of
international law has been a key obstacle for indigenous peoples seeking to
have their rights to land and resources
recognized at the international level.
- 70 -
authorities over these territories
(Meijknecht 2001:17). Indigenous peoples were excluded from participating
in international law because they were
considered to have no international legal status or capacity (Meijknecht 2001:
17). In many cases, European
colonialists viewed indigenous peoples
as “primitive” and therefore incapable
of holding sovereign authority over the
territory they occupied. In some cases,
treaties were entered into between the
colonial powers and indigenous peoples; however, over time, colonial views
of indigenous peoples being “inferior”
took root, causing serious abrogation of
the rights of indigenous peoples recognized in the treaties (Corntassel and
Primeau 1995:355). In most cases,
without conquest or consent, colonial
powers simply asserted sovereignty over
indigenous peoples’ lands. Because
international law only recognized the
state-individual dichotomy, indigenous
peoples, as collective entities existing
within states, could not be accounted
for within its framework (Anaya 2004:
Since indigenous peoples have
traditionally not been recognized as subjects of international law, issues concerning recognition of their rights have
been considered domestic matters of the
states in which they reside. The international law principle of non-intervention, which serves to strike a balance
between state sovereignty and the power
of the international community, recognizes that states are protected, to a certain extent, from intervention into their
affairs by other entities (Meijknecht
2001:4).3 Thus, states are entrusted to
protect the human rights of their
populations, including the rights of indigenous peoples that reside within
their borders. This places indigenous
peoples in a particularly disadvantaged
position because states are typically the
main violators of indigenous rights, especially with respect to expropriation
of land and resources in indigenous traditional territories (Meijknecht 2001:17).
With no effective international legal personality, indigenous peoples have, historically, had no forum to turn to, to bring
claims against states for violations of their
Fitting Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to
Land and Resources into International
Human Rights Law
In recent years the international community has begun to recognize the legal significance of indigenous peoples’ rights;
however, because international law has
developed to the exclusion of non-state actors such as indigenous peoples, it is not
easy to fit those rights into its framework.
Because international law is grounded in
the concepts of liberal individualism and
Westphalian sovereignty, it is generally
adverse to the recognition of collective
rights that appear to interfere with the territorial sovereignty of the nation-state.
The liberal individualist framework of international human rights law has been a key
challenge for indigenous peoples because
their claims for rights to land, resources,
and self-determination, among others, are
collective in nature. Indigenous peoples
claim that respect for their human dignity
entails recognition of their collective rights
to exist as distinct groups of peoples with
their own cultural identities (Williams
1990: 686). Debates about the recognition
of indigenous peoples’ collective rights in
international law were heightened during
the United Nations (UN) Working Group
on Indigenous Populations’ (WGIP) discussion concerning the drafting of the Draft
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples (DDRIP)4. Many states voiced reluctance to recognize indigenous peoples’
collective rights, with states such as Japan
and France arguing that collective rights
have never existed in international law
- 71 -
(Thornberry 2002:378-9).
As mentioned above, traditional
liberal-democratic thought developed
according to an individual-state dichotomy. Liberal rights theory recognizes that individuals have certain inalienable rights and that governments derive their just power from the consent
of the governed individuals (Van Dyke
1995:32). The clear thrust of most international human rights doctrine, therefore, is in accordance with a liberal individualistic paradigm, requiring states
to promote human rights without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. Traditional liberalism views collective and individual rights as being
antagonistic, and thus has tended to view
collective rights as dangerous and oppressive (Johnston 1995:179). Up until
recently, international human rights law
has generally protected individual rights
and precluded the granting of legal status and rights to groups as collective
entities whenever they are identified by
characteristics such as race, language or
religion (Van Dyke 1995:33). Johnston
indicates that traditional liberal rights
theorists have simply assumed that
“group interests can be accommodated
within the framework of either individual or social rights” and have argued
that group rights are “translatable into
either individual or social rights”, thus
denying “the existence of any genuine
group rights” (1995:185). According to
Scott, however, to deny the existence of
indigenous peoples’ collective rights is
to deny the social, historical and political fact of their existence (1996:2). He
says that “in the end, it amounts to a
form not just of non-recognition, but,
more seriously, misrecognition”
rights in the international arena. According to Patrick Thornberry, the “iron cage
of sovereignty-based international law”
imprisoned the legal imagination throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
(2002:89). In other words, states’ obsession with protecting and maintaining their
territorial and sovereign authority preempted the emergence of any meaningful
dialogue exploring how indigenous peoples’ collective rights to self-determination,
land and resources could be incorporated
within liberal democratic states and the
international law framework. Territorial
sovereignty is defined as “the establishment
of exclusive competence to take legal and
factual measures within that territory and
prohibit foreign governments from exercising authority in that territory without consent” (Malanczuk 1997:75). As discussed
above, international law emerged as a “law
of nations” with primacy being placed on
the sovereign state. For this reason, control of a territory has come to be the essence of the modern-day state and states
are highly protective of the geographical
boundaries of their territories (Malanczuk
1997:75). Claims by indigenous peoples
are often viewed as direct threats to state
sovereignty and thus, states have traditionally rejected recognition of indigenous peoples as distinct peoples with the right to
collectively hold land and resources. One
can see how this has played out in the international human rights arena in that for a
long time, the international legal community either refused to refer to indigenous
people as a “peoples” in international doctrine, or insisted on limiting the meaning
of the term.5 The fear was that if indigenous people were considered “peoples,”
they would be able to rely on the right of
self-determination found in the UN Charter and would be able to secede from the
Like the issue of collective rights,
the debate concerning the use of the term
“peoples” was a key issue in the discussions surrounding the adoption of the
DDRIP by the WGIP, and while indigenous
In addition to the individual-collective
rights debate, the concept of territorial
sovereignty has been a key obstacle for
indigenous peoples advocating for their
- 72 -
peoples have been successful in having
the term “peoples” incorporated into the
DDRIP, it was not without much resistance from various states (Scott 1996;
Barsh 1996). What is interesting to
note, however, is that many indigenous
peoples have clearly indicated that they
do not wish to secede from the territories of states in which they reside. Many
indigenous peoples do not want to secede, but rather, wish to “wield greater
control over matters such as natural resources, environmental preservation of
their homelands, education, use of language, and bureaucratic administration
. . . in order to ensure their groups’ cultural preservation and integrity”
(Corntassel and Primeau 1995:344).
Indigenous Rights to Land and
Resources as Fundamental Human
Given the clear thrust of international
human rights law is in accordance with
a liberal individualist paradigm, one
might ask, why are indigenous peoples
so intent on having collective rights recognized within its domain? The response by many indigenous peoples is
that recognition of their collective rights
is necessary to sustain their fundamental human right to survive as distinct
peoples (UNSPPHR 2001). Indigenous
peoples indicate that it is difficult to
separate the concept of their relationship with their lands, territories and resources from that of their cultural differences and values because their relationship with the land, and all living
things, is at the core of their societies
(UNSPPHR 2001:7). Anaya and
Williams state that indigenous peoples’
right to “cultural integrity necessarily
includes the obligation to protect traditional lands because of the inextricable
link between land and culture” (Anaya
and Williams 2001:53). In other words,
rights to lands and resources are “pre-
requisites for the physical and cultural survival of indigenous communities” (Anaya
and Williams 2001:53).
Indigenous peoples’ relationships
with their lands and resources vary from
culture to culture; however, there are certain aspects that tend to converge. Land
use patterns, for example, frequently provide, or provided, subsistence, and are/were
linked to familial and social relations, religious practices, and the very existence of
indigenous communities as discrete social
and cultural phenomena (Anaya and
Williams 2001:49). Language, as a form
of knowledge, is often intimately linked to
the territories of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, as was keenly observed by Special Rapporteur Cobo in the UN Study of
the Problem of Discrimination against Indigenous Populations, spirituality is a central aspect of indigenous peoples’ relationship with land (UN Sub-commission on the
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities 1986:196).
One can argue, then, that for indigenous peoples, property rights are inextricably linked to their fundamental human
rights. However, as Henderson explains,
“to speak of modern legal notions of ‘ownership’ and ‘property’ rights in the context
of Aboriginal languages or worldview is
difficult, if not impossible,” because indigenous peoples’ “visions of land and entitlements were [and are] unlike the European notion of ‘property’” (1995: 217).6 He
states that “the Aboriginal vision of property was [and is] ecological space that creates our consciousness, not an ideological
construct or fungible resource” (Henderson
1995:217). Indigenous peoples’ understanding of property ownership often differs from the dominant Western conception;
however, it is no less deserving of respect
and recognition. Thus, when considering
indigenous peoples’ claims to land and resources it is necessary, as Scott has espoused, to “decolonize the international
imagination” (1996:3) so that appropriate
mechanisms for recognition and protection
can be adopted which have practical sig- 73 -
nificance for indigenous peoples on the
ground. This may require recognizing
forms of land and resource tenure distinct to indigenous peoples, and adopting unique legal remedies that accord
with these forms of tenure.
In those States in which ethnic, religious
or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other
members of their group, to enjoy their own
culture, to profess and practise their own
religion, or to use their own language.
Recognition of Indigenous Rights to
Land and Resources in International
Human Rights Law
Article 27 has been relied on in several
cases concerning indigenous peoples’ rights
to land and resources. For example, in
1984, Chief Ominayak, of the Lubicon
Lake Band of Cree, initiated a claim against
Canada using the Optional Protocol11 to the
ICCPR.12 The Option Protocol allows individuals of member states to present their
case to the UN Human Rights Committee
(HRC) for consideration if the individual
believes his/her rights under the ICCPR are
being violated. Chief Ominayak claimed
that the Lubicon Cree’s right to self-determination according to Article 1 of the
ICCPR was being violated on the basis that
the Alberta government was allowing resource development to take place in their
traditional territory without the Lubicon’s
consent. The HRC found that it could not
adjudicate a claim for self-determination
brought on behalf of the Lubicon Cree because the Optional Protocol only permits
claims made by individuals and a claim for
self-determination is inherently a collective claim. The Committee found, however, that the facts submitted gave rise to
an individual claim under Article 27, and
concluded that the Canadian government
violated Chief Ominayak and other individual Lubicon Lake Band members’ rights
in its historical dealings with the Band,
particularly by allowing the Alberta government to expropriate the Band’s traditional lands for the benefit of private corporate interests. Since then, other indigenous groups from Finland, Sweden and
Tahiti have initiated claims alleging violations of Article 27 and have had varied
The International Convention On
Despite the obstacles indigenous peoples have faced, and continue to face, in
advocating for their rights under the liberal, state-centered framework of international law, indigenous peoples have,
over the past several decades, succeeded
in capturing the attention of the international community. Since the early
1970s, two UN working groups have
been established to address indigenous
issues7, the UN General Assembly has
announced the International Decade of
the World’s Indigenous Peoples8, and the
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues9
has been established to act as an advisory board to the UN Economic and Social Council. Furthermore, according to
Anaya, “indigenous peoples have ceased
to be the mere objects of the discussion
of their rights and have become real participants in an extensive multi-lateral
dialogue that has also engaged states,
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs),
and independent experts . . .” (2004:56).
Much of the focus at the international level has been on developing
the DDRIP, which sets out a framework
of human rights specific to indigenous
peoples. However, indigenous peoples
have also sought to use existing universal human rights doctrine to advocate for
their rights. Article 27 of the International Covenant On Civil And Political
Rights (ICCPR)10, for example, has become an important convention in the
emerging body of international law that
recognizes indigenous rights to land and
resources. It states as follows:
- 74 -
The Elimination Of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination (CERD)14 is another
example of a convention which does not
refer to indigenous peoples specifically,
but can be interpreted to apply to indigenous peoples. In 1997, the UN Committee on the CERD published a recommendation affirming that discrimination against indigenous peoples falls
within the scope of the CERD, and stating that “in many regions of the world
indigenous peoples have been, and are
still being, discriminated against and
deprived of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular
that they have lost their land and resources to colonists, commercial companies and State enterprises” (The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [CERD Committee] 1997).
The CERD Committee urged state parties to recognize and protect the rights
of indigenous peoples to own, develop,
control, and use their communal lands,
territories and resources, in an effort to
combat racial discrimination, as is their
obligation under the CERD (CERD
Committee 1997).
In terms of doctrine strictly pertaining to indigenous peoples, the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous
And Tribal Peoples (ILO Convention
169) 15 is currently the only international
convention which fits this description.
It was drafted in 1989 to supercede the
1957 ILO Convention No. 10716, which
is now regarded as anachronistic due to
its assimilationist and integrationist
approach. The provisions contained in
ILO Convention 169 establish a basic
framework for the protection and recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights
under international law, including substantial provisions regarding the rights
to land and resources (Articles 13-19).
It must be noted, however, that while
ILO Convention 169 provides substantial recognition of indigenous rights,
only 17 countries have signed on to this
The only other document strictly addressing indigenous peoples is the DDRIP.
If adopted, it will represent the most comprehensive statement on the rights of indigenous peoples in international law. The
current DDRIP, which has been adopted by
the human rights experts of the WGIP and
the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights, goes beyond
ILO Convention 169 in a number of areas
including recognition of the right to selfdetermination (Article 3) and rights to own
and control land and resources (Article 21,
25-30). Furthermore, as mentioned above,
the DDRIP recognizes the collective rights
of indigenous peoples to a much higher
degree than any other international human
rights doctrine, and refers to indigenous
peoples as being “peoples.” Professor
Venne argues that because indigenous peoples actively participated in the drafting of
the DDRIP, they are moving closer to being recognized as subjects of international
law (1998:128). The DDRIP, however, has
been the subject of vigorous debate and
disagreement and the lack of consensus
among states suggests that that it cannot
be established with certainty what the practical consequences and implication of the
DDRIP will be for the legal status of indigenous peoples (Meicknecht 2001:152).
Furthermore, the DDRIP is a declaration,
not a convention, meaning that even after
it has been adopted by the UN General
Assembly, it will not impose legally binding obligations on states.
In addition to the UN, Indigenous
peoples have focused their advocacy at regional international human rights bodies
such as the Organization of American States
(OAS) Inter-American Human Rights System (Inter-American System), comprised of
the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (Commission) and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (Court). The
Inter-American System is of particular importance because it has jurisdiction to hear
complaints alleged by individuals or groups
against OAS member States that have vio- 75 -
lated, or are violating, human rights. In
recent years it has come to play a prominent role in addressing indigenous peoples of the Americas’ rights to land and
resources. Like the UN, the OAS has
embarked on a process of drafting a declaration specifically concerning the
rights of indigenous peoples.18 Notwithstanding, indigenous peoples have been
using the regular complaint process to
advocate for their rights to land and resources using the American Convention
on Human Rights19 (American Convention) and the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man20 (American Declaration). Complaints alleging
violations of the American Convention
may only be made against state parties
that have signed on to it; however, complaints of violations of the American
Declaration are more universal. The
Court has declared that the rights affirmed in the American Declaration are,
at minimum, the human rights that OAS
member states are bound to uphold;
thus, they apply to all OAS states under
the OAS Charter. Where the state is a
party to the American Convention, and
has accepted the jurisdiction of the
Court, a case may be referred to the
Court by either the Commission or a
concerned state and the decision delivered by the Court is binding on that
state. If, however, a state has not accepted the Court’s jurisdiction, the process ends when the Commission publishes its report and recommendations.
Since the late-1990s four petitions have been filed with the InterAmerican Commission by indigenous
peoples from Canada, the United States,
Nicaragua and Belize, alleging violations of their rights to land and resources
as a result of states’ expropriation of
land for the purpose of resource development in indigenous traditional territories (Anaya and Williams 2001).21
The outcome of the Mayagna (Sumo)
Awas Tingi Community vs. Nicaragua
(Awas Tingi Case) is highly significant.
Basically, the Inter-American Commission
chose to bring the complaint made by the
Awas Tingi against the government of Nicaragua to the Inter-American Court on the
Awas Tingi’s behalf. Relying on Article
21 (the right to private property) and Article 25 (the right to judicial protection) of
the American Convention, the Inter-American Court found that the Awas Tingi had
collective rights, as a matter of international
law, to the lands and natural resources that
they traditionally used and occupied (Anaya
and Grossman 2002). In other words, the
Court accepted that the right to property
pursuant to Article 21 includes communal
property. The Court found that the Nicaraguan government violated the human rights
of the Awas Tingi by failing to establish
legislative or administrative measures to
delimit, demarcate, and title the lands of
the Awas Tingi; by failing to provide judicial remedies to protect and enforce those
property rights; and by authorizing access
to Awas Tingi lands and resources without
consultation or consent (Anaya and
Grossman 2002). The case sets an international legal precedent as the first decision of an international court with binding
authority to directly address the property
rights of indigenous peoples.
Finally, any discussion concerning
the sources of international law must address the possibility of emerging customary international law (CIL). Anaya argues
that the international legal framework that
is emerging concerning indigenous peoples’
rights is significant to the extent that it can
be understood as giving rise to new CIL
(2004: 61). According to Anaya, norms of
CIL arise when a “preponderance of states
and other authoritative actors converge on
a common understanding of the norms’ contents and generally expect future conformity with those norms” (Anaya 2004:61).
CIL is “generally observed to include two
key elements: a ‘material’ element in certain past uniformities in behavior, and a
‘psychological element’, or opinio juris, in
certain subjectivities of ‘oughtness’ attending such uniformities in behavior” (Anaya
- 76 -
2004:61). Anaya asserts that “there has
been a discernable movement toward a
convergence of reformed normative understanding and expectation on the subject of indigenous peoples,” which is
constitutive of CIL (2004:62). As support for his argument, he states that over
the past several decades, the demands
of indigenous peoples have been continuously addressed within the UN and
other international venues of authoritative normative discourse, such as the
OAS (Anaya 2004:61). Furthermore, he
argues that the wide-ranging discussion
promoted through the international
arena has involved “states, non-governmental organizations, independent experts, and indigenous peoples themselves” such that it “is now evident that
states and other relevant actors have
reached a certain new common ground
about minimum standards that should
govern behavior towards indigenous
peoples” (Anaya 2004:61). While CIL
is a highly debated concept in the field
of international law, it is an established
doctrine accepted by states and international tribunals and thus, should not be
ignored as a source of international law
concerning indigenous peoples’ rights.
The last several decades have given way
to a more inclusive understanding of the
participants of international law such
that one can now see a range of participants including international organizations, transnational corporations, minority groups and indigenous peoples
(Thornberry 2002:90). Clearly, indigenous peoples are now a distinct concern within the international human
rights community; however, whether or
not indigenous peoples have an “international legal personality” as defined in
international law by the principles of international capacity, subjectivity and jus
standi (standing), is still highly debated
among international law scholars (Barsh
1994; Meijknecht 2001). Some argue that
while changes have occurred which grant
non-state actors’ access to international forums, international law is still predominantly made and implemented by states and
thus, indigenous peoples cannot yet be considered subjects of international law in any
meaningful sense of the term (Melanczuk
1997:107). The question to ask, then, is
whether it is effective to advocate for indigenous peoples rights to land and resources within the international human
rights arena?
Anaya argues that although international law has historically been “grudging and imperfect, falling short of indigenous peoples’ aspirations,” it has moved
away from its exclusively state-centered
orientation and is continuing to develop to
support indigenous peoples’ demands
(Anaya 2004:4). He sees that the advocacy
and lobbying of indigenous peoples in the
international arena over the past several
decades has resulted in the emergence of
international norms and a consensus among
authoritative international actors that is laying the foundation for the emergence of CIL
concerning the rights of indigenous peoples.
Furthermore, Anaya and Williams argue
that the developments regarding recognition of indigenous rights to land and resources in the Inter-American System are
some of the most important developments
in international law today (2001:86). Indeed, the Awas Tingi Case was successful
in establishing a legally binding decision
preventing the Nicaraguan government
from expropriating lands in Awas Tingi territory. It must be noted, however, that there
are uncertainties with respect to the enforcement of the Awas Tingi Case and others to
come. It appears that shaming by the international community is, at present, the only
available enforcement mechanism.
Alfred and Corntassel take a much
more critical approach. Calling the last ten
years “A Decade of Rhetoric for Indigenous
Peoples,” they argue that the delay surrounding the adoption of the DDRIP is indicative of states’ refusals to seriously con- 77 -
sider indigenous peoples’ rights, and the
overall inability of the UN to affect practical change in the lives of indigenous
peoples (2004). They argue that the lack
of progress within the UN system demonstrates a need for indigenous peoples
“to head in a different direction and
begin the process of rearticulating Indigenous rights within global forums”
(Alfred and Corntassel 2004:5). They
point to organizations such as the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organizations (UNPO), an organization
comprised of 52 nations (not state governments), and argue that this institution will allow indigenous peoples to
advocate for their rights outside the
state-centric system of the UN (Alfred
and Corntassel 2004:5). They also argue that indigenous peoples must build
unity among themselves by
reinvigorating the process of treaty-making among indigenous nations (Alfred
and Corntassel 2004:5).
In answering the question posed
above, is it effective to advocate for indigenous peoples’ rights to land and resources within the international human
rights arena, it is important to recognize
that while there has been some success
as a result of the international indigenous rights movement, there are definite limitations due to the state-centered
structure of international law. Advocating for recognition of indigenous rights
in the international human rights arena
is an important starting point to the extent it opens up a dialogue in which indigenous peoples themselves can explain how their relationships to land and
resources are intimately linked to their
ability to survive as distinct cultures.
Recognition alone, however, will not
guarantee that states will grant greater
access and control over land and resources to indigenous peoples. The principle of non-intervention and the concomitant lack of enforcement of international law at the state level have serious ramifications for the efficacy of in-
ternational human rights law. Furthermore,
shaming is only effective for those states
that have a voluntary allegiance to the international community; countries such as
the United States, for example, reject the
authority of any body outside the sovereign
state and generally refuse to sign on to international human rights doctrine. The
challenge, then, is to find ways of advocating for indigenous rights at the local, national and international levels that, either
through threat or gain, place incentives on
state governments to recognize indigenous
rights. In some cases, where states have
recognized the rights of indigenous peoples
within their own domestic legislation, it
may be more effective to direct advocacy
at the national level, as national courts decisions will be binding on state governments.22 In other instances, the international human rights arena may prove to be
an effective tool to motivate state governments to act, as it was for the Awas Tingi
in their struggle against the government of
Nicaragua. As a final point, it is worth
noting that if the problems of non-recognition of indigenous rights are, in many ways,
a result of the Westphalian notions of state
sovereignty, then perhaps new possibilities
will emerge as globalization erodes the traditional sovereignty of nation states and the
arbitrariness of state boundaries becomes
apparent. Indeed, the challenge for indigenous rights advocates in the future will be
to locate new sites of resistance within institutions of global governance, which are
emerging as a result of globalization.23
For the purposes of this paper, the author
considers all peoples who fall within the
following definition provided by Professor
James Anaya to be indigenous peoples: “...
the term indigenous refers broadly to the
living descendants of preinvasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others.
Indigenous peoples, nations, or communities are culturally distinctive groups that
find themselves engulfed by settler socie- 78 -
ties born of forces of empire and conquest” (2004: 3).
Indigenous rights to land and resources
include ownership, use and/or occupancy of land and resources of a particular territory inhabited by indigenous
peoples now, or in the past; they are typically identified by indigenous peoples
as being inextricably linked to their
cultural distinctiveness.
See Article 2(7) of the Charter of the
United Nations June 26, 1945, 59 Stat.
1031, T.S. 993, 3 Bevans 1153 entered
into force Oct. 24, 1945.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, December 16, 1966, G.A.
Res. 2200(XXI), 999 U.N.T.S. 171 (entered
into force Mar. 23, 1976)
Optional Protocol to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly
resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December
1966 entry into force 23 March 1976.
Lubicon Lake Band v. Canada, Communication No. 167/184, UN Doc. A 45/40
See Article 1(3) of the Convention No.
169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples in Independent Countries, June
27, 1989, International Labour Conference (entered into force Sept. 5, 1991).
See Lansman et al. v. Finland, Communication No. 511/1992, U.N. Hum. Rts.
Comm. CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992 (1994);
J.E. Landsmann v. Findland, Communication No. 671.1995, CCPR/C/58/D/671/
1995; Kitok v. Sweden, Communication No.
197/1985, U.N. Hum. Rts. Comm., A/43/
40, annex VII.G (1988); Hopu and Bessert
v. France, Communication No. 549.1993
Draft United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, U.N.
Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994 (1994).
Professor Henderson refers to Canadian indigenous peoples as Aboriginal,
as that is the term most commonly used
in Canada.
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination , December 21 1965, entry G.A. Resolution 2106 (XX) (entry into force 4 January 1969).
The WGIP was established in 1982 to
draft the DDRIP, which it adopted in
1994, and submitted to the Commission
on Human Rights (CHR). In 1995, the
CHR established another working group
to consider the DDRIP; these discussions are still ongoing.
Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
Countries, June 27, 1989, International
Labour Conference (entered into force Sept.
5, 1991).
The UN General Assembly launched
the International Decade of the World’s
Indigenous Peoples (1995 – 2004) to
increase United Nations’ Commitment
to promoting and protecting the rights
of indigenous peoples.
Convention (No. 107) Concerning the
Protection and Integration of Indigenous
and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal
Populations in Independent Countries, June
26, 1957, International Labour Conference,
328 U.N.T.S. 247 (entered into force June
2, 1959.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues was established in 2000.
Canada is not a party to ILO Convention
- 79 -
See the Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples approved by the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights on February 26,1997, at its 1333rd session,
95th regular session.
American Convention on the Human
Rights, adopted Nov. 22, 1969, O.A.S.
Treaty Series No. 36, 1144 U.N.T.S. 123
(Entered into force July 18, 1978).
American Declaration of the Rights
and Duties of Man, adopted 1948, Ninth
International Conference on American
States, Art. XXIII, O.A.S. Res. XXX .
Canada has not signed on to this Convention.
See Mary and Carrie Dann against
United States, Case No. 11.140, InterAm C.H.R. 99 (1999); Maya Communities and their Members against Belize,
Case No. 12.053, Inter-Am C.H.R. 78
(2000); The Case of the Mayagna
(Sumo) Awas Tingi Community vs.
Nicaragua 11.577 February 1, 2000; and
the Carrier Sekani against Canada, Case
No. 12.1279, Inter-Am C.H.R. (2000).
See the Supreme Court of Canada decisions in Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minster of Forests) 2004 SCC
73 and Taku River Tlingit First Nation
v. British Columbia 2004 SCC 74 where
the Court ruled that the governments
have a duty to consult and accommodate
Aboriginal peoples prior to making decisions that might adversely affect their
as yet unproven Aboriginal rights and
title claims.
See the intervention by Canadian indigenous organizations, the Interior
Alliance and the International Network
on Trade and Economies, at the WTO
in the Canada-United States Softwood
Lumber Dispute. The indigenous organizations argued that Canada is subsidizing its lumber because it has not
settled land claims with the indigenous peoples from whose territory the lumber is
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Vol. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1986/7. Geneva:
UN Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
2001 Indigenous Peoples and their Relationship with Land. Erica-Irene A. Daes.,
ed. Vol. E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/21. Geneva: United Nations.
Van Dyke, Vernon
1995 “The Individual, the State, and Ethnic
Communities in Political Theory.” In
Will Kymlicka, ed. The Rights of Minority Cultures. New York: Oxford
University Press, 31-56.
Venne, Sharon H.
1998 Our Elders Understand Our Rights:
Evolving International Law Regarding
Indigenous Peoples. Penticton: Theytus
Williams, Robert A.
1990 “Encounters on the Frontiers of International Human Rights Law: Redefining the Terms of Indigenous Peoples’
Survival in the World.” Duke
Law Journal 1990, 660-704.
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field notes
Andrea Gemmill
Primate Paradigms: In the Field with
Ringtailed Lemurs
This is a small sample of field notes taken while I was conducting research for my Master’s thesis at
Béza Mahafaly Special Reserve in southwestern Madagascar, from July to September, 2004.
The reserve is one square kilometre of protected riverine and xerophytic forest. The forest, protected as
well as the unprotected, is inhabited by four species of primate: Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi),
sportive lemur (Lepilemur leucopus), mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), and, the focus of my study,
the ringtailed lemur (Lemur catta). The protected forest is surrounded by a barbed wire fence that
serves to eliminate, or at least greatly diminish, access to its lush flora by grazing livestock, such as
goats and cattle. (It is important to note that this barrier does not limit the movements of any of the
primate groups or any other animals within the reserve.) The unprotected forest is significantly less
dense and has areas of barren dirt due to livestock grazing and removal of trees and brush for building
material and fuel.
Myself, a Canadian assistant and two
local Malagasy assistants collected behavioural and ecological data on adult
female ringtailed lemurs for a period of
three months. We focused on two social groups: one within the reserve and
one south of the reserve, which also
ranged into our camp area. With this
information I hope to uncover possible
dietary and within group behavioural
differences that could potentially be related to the very different environments
inhabited by these two groups. Primates
worldwide are being faced with encroaching and expanding human
populations. Alongside the work by local, national and international researchers to develop new options for agricultural and pastoralist practices in this
region of Madagascar, studies such as this
will serve to conserve and expand protected
natural habitats, such as Béza Mahafaly,
and in turn their associated flora and fauna.
Field Notes
Day 1 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar
Set up the tent today. I’ve never lived in a
tent for three months – this will be an interesting experience on so many levels.
On that note, red beans and rice for lunch
was actually pretty good.
Day 7 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar
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After observing the two ringtailed lemur study groups for a week now, we
are getting a basic idea as to their favourite sleeping trees. That has made
locating our subjects first thing in the
morning a bit easier. This morning the
reserve group, Green group, was found
in their usual large kily1 tree at the intersection of green trail and blue trail.
We’ve been fortunate so far with this
group as they have not ventured so high
amongst the foliage making individual
identification impossible. Some of these
trees are close to 30 metres tall and the
reserve forest can be extremely dense,
so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.
ranking group to move along. Spending
time in close contact with humans has become common place with many of these
primates. I’m anxious to determine if it
has an effect on their diet and behaviour.
Day 9 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly
Special Reserve, Madagascar
Fig. 1 – A subadult female from Black group
The non-reserve group, Black group, has
been much more difficult to track in the
mornings than has Green group. Their
home range south of the reserve extends
from the Sakamena River (completely
parched since this is the cool/dry season) all of the way west into our camp –
an area I estimate to be approximately
2km². To us human observers they don’t
appear to follow any discernable ranging or sleeping pattern. We have located
them in various different sleeping trees
so far (Fig. 1). Their only obvious, consistent group movement is into the human camp area at least once a day. All
group members have been recorded
feeding on buds, leaves and fruit in a
handful of mature trees around the tents.
They tend to linger for only about an
hour, returning east into the non-reserve
forest upon the arrival of another nonreserve ringtail group into the camp.
Black group doesn’t appear to be ranked
very highly compared to the other groups
they have encountered in camp. We
have not witnessed any overly agonistic
interactions between the groups in camp
(actions such as lunging, chasing or hitting). Vocalizations between groups
seem to serve as the cue for the lower
Day 18 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar
There was a full moon tonight. We took a
nighttime hike through the reserve without
headlamps. Nights like this make me cognizant of just how removed I am from my
everyday, city-person, ‘First World’ life. I
read a book alone at 10:00pm in the dry
riverbed and was passed by numerous
charettes, zébus2 (Fig. 2) and people from
neighbouring villages heading to the morning market in town. They embark on this
bumpy, dirt road, enduring a ten hour trek
(in each direction) once a week to sell crops,
livestock and sometimes woven baskets and
Fig. 2 – Myself and some friends in their
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Day 25 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly
Special Reserve
We had a little bit of rain last night,
which coaxes out the radiated tortoises.
Green group was unamused, or perhaps
confused, by the presence of one of these
reptiles, even though the tortoise poses
absolutely no threat to the ringtails, or
anything other than ground level foliage
for that matter. Nonetheless, it was a
great opportunity to hear their ground
predator alarm call. This differs somewhat in pitch and cadence from their
aerial predator alarm call, which we witnessed the other day when a hawk was
circling and grazing the tops of the trees.
When the ringtails saw the immense
raptor (it looked huge to me, an adult
human – I cannot begin to imagine how
it appeared to domestic cat-size animals
that were more than twice as close to
it), their vocalizations were ear splitting.
I was nervous for them – it’s amazing
the individual ringtail ‘personalities’
I’ve come to enjoy. I was also angry with
this hawk for coming so close to and disturbing MY lemurs. Maybe I have become slightly territorial myself.
Day 27 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly
Special Reserve
Day off today so I brought my video camera into the reserve. There was a great
deal of ground predator alarm calling
taking place. I looked around. No
snakes that I could see (the true ground
predator the ringtails need to be cautious
of). Not even any tortoises. I realized
that the adult females who were vocalizing seemed to be directing their concern towards the base of a particular tree.
I walked cautiously in that direction, and
followed their gaze towards my rather
large and imposing camera bag.
Day 33 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly
Okay, so Green group has become completely
noncompliant. All four of us searched for
any sign of them in their usual sleeping trees
and favourite feeding spots near and on the
ground (ringtails are the most terrestrial of
any lemur species – what we’ve seen definitely supports the findings of previous studies that they spend about one third of their
active hours on the ground). We could not
find them anywhere. I realize that this is an
expected occurrence when conducting
primatological research, but it was frustrating nonetheless. After two hours of literally
scouring high and low, a faint ‘meow’ – a
contact call – was detected. I plodded off
the trails towards the eastern boundary of the
reserve, the embankment of the Sakamena
River, and peered over the edge. There sat
Green group, gorging on thistle leaves that
had grown in the dry riverbed (Fig. 3) – another addition to the list of species of plants
on which they feed. Even though it is the
dry season, Green group appears to have decent selection of temporally available flowers, buds, fruit (Fig. 4) and leaves. Though I
have yet to observe any of the individuals
drinking water. I’m sure they get what they
need from the plants, and conserve or store
their energy and water by not ranging great
distances each day. Their regular noon time
snooze has also gradually been lengthening.
What started as a two-hour rest time four
weeks ago has now become a four-hour full
out sleep. The adult females are all gestating, so I’m sure that combined with the lack
of water resources has contributed to the less
costly, low energy behaviour.
Fig. 3 – Collecting observations in the riverbed
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Fig. 4 – Adult female from Green group
feeding on fruit
Day 40 – Campement; Béza Mahafaly
Black group has been spending an increasing amount of time in camp. They
no longer come in once a day for about
an hour. The group now sleeps very
close to the edge of camp and passes
most, if not all, of their day in camp.
Unlike Green group, their early afternoon siestas are still about two hours in
length. All of the adult females in Black
group are also gestating, so I believe that
their higher activity levels are due to
their constant access to water resources.
The researchers and the Malagasy people who live at the camp get their water
from a well by the main building. Water gets spilt on the cement that surrounds the source. Ringtails have been
observed lapping up the tiny puddles
that collect on the cement. There are
also buckets of water everywhere – by
our tents for washing, by the cooking
stove for rinsing, washing and fire extinguishing and by the Malagasy homes
for the same purposes. The ringtails
take advantage of these buckets and are
undeterable from their drinking until the
human pail-owner is only a few steps
away. How does this unnatural, constant availability of water affect the
health of the lemurs? Does it affect their
behaviour? How about their social organization? Just as importantly, I wonder how being in such close proximity
to humans, their foods, waste and ailments, could potentially affect all of
those same factors. This provides a textbook example of human encroachment on
the natural habitat of primates. The
nonreserve forest in gradually disappearing, and the ringtails are in turn foraging
through scrap piles in an area of human
habitation. The water is undeniably a major draw.
Along that same vein, but on a
much lighter note, I have witnessed various pail-drinking techniques, such as scooping (Fig. 5) and dunking (Fig. 6). I wonder
if they will be passed on and taught to future generations of ringtailed lemurs.
Fig. 5 – An adult male using the ‘cupping’
Fig. 6 – An adult female using the ‘dunking’ technique
Day 45 – Campement; Béza
45 days of rice and beans. 45 more to go.
The red beans have all been eaten. Hope
we can make it to the next market day. Will
it be the big, flat white beans or the tiny
white beans for lunch tomorrow? Mmm.
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Charettes are hand-made, wooden carts
used for transportation of people and goods.
They are very common in the remote, rural, financially poor area of southwestern
Madagascar. Zébus are cattle used to pull
charettes. They are also used for meat,
milk, and gifts and as signifiers of wealth.
Kily is the Malagasy name for Tamarind trees (Tamarindus indica) found in
the region.
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Goran Dokiæ
A Review of No Aging in India:
Alzheimer’s, the Bad Family, and other
Modern Things
Cohen, Lawrence. No Aging in India: Alzheimer’s, the Bad Family, and Other Modern Things. Berkeley:
University of California Press. 1998. xxv +367 pp.
On the cover of the paperback edition
of No Aging in India (Cohen 1998) is a
print of a Ghar Kali satire with an Indian man carrying a young woman on
his shoulders while at the same time
pulling a rope tied around the neck of
another elderly woman. The print asks
for an explanation: how and why do people take such positions? This question
echoes the inquiry Cohen has set to investigate in his ethnography: “… how
people comprehend the body and its
behaviour in time… [and] how
generational and other sorts of difference
come to matter” (p. xv).
Cohen started his initial training in the comparative study of religion.
He then continued in medicine, and was
finally “caught” (p. xxii) by new ways
of thinking about health and the roots
of suffering through anthropology at the
University of California at Berkeley. The
effects of these diverse experiences
clearly influenced his analytical choices
in the making of this ethnography. Although his discussions are rooted in the
frameworks of biology, culture, and
economy, Cohen is clear in his attempts to
resist the traditional dualistic theorizing by
providing “…a sort of thick analysis… continually adding different sites and methods
of inquiry to [the] project until these juxtapositions ceased to produce interesting challenges to the main arguments” (p. xv). The
result is a book with a web of detail centered
on the discourses of old body as “a victim
of Alzheimer’s” (p. 33) and “an embodiment of the bad family of middle class modernity” (p. 87).
Cohen never falls short of data in
support of his arguments. Using research
material gathered in a period of over a decade, he blends an overwhelming amount of
information collected from various sources;
such as seminars in Europe, North America,
and India, interviews with families in several Indian cities, the sensationalism of tabloids, popular Hindi films, as well as the
rhetoric of journalism and the language of
medical professionals. This broad range of
sources and sites made possible an ethnography that is “not quite about India”, or as
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he further cautions, “nor is it quite a
comparison, for… there is no place
called the West out there with which
India can be compared” (p. 8).
Although the social drama of
Cohen’s fieldwork began during the
1988 Zagreb convention (p. 19), the
most absorbing experience of ambiguity and suffering captured in the processes of growing old comes from the
Indian city of Varanasi. To explore the
connections between representations of
lived experience and the decay of the
old body, Cohen wisely chooses to collect some of his most detailed accounts
from the families living in the city that
is characterized in traditional structuralist ethnographies as the model of Indian spiritual and material contradictions. He shuffles the images of the social scenes in four different
neighborhoods, from the cosmopolitan
Bengali, through Hindu and Muslim
middle class colonies, to Nagwa slums
and the lowest caste of “untouchable
jati” (p. 42). His juxtapositions reveal
a variety of meanings and relationships
between the individuals at different layers of social existence within Varanasi
neighborhoods. In his reflections on the
sacredness of the Ganga River, he talks
of the old person as the iconic figure of
Varanasi that motivates a rethinking of
senility. These meditations invoke the
images of widow renunciates (kasivasis)
and holy men (sadhus), and add a dimension of contested gender meanings
to his analysis. The former are captured
in local narratives as both coming out
of devotion (bhakti) and ousted by their
bad families, and the latter as completing the four-stage life cycle of searching for salvation (moksha) through
“learning to forget” (p. 40). The recurring narrative of the ‘bad family’ becomes one of the central themes explaining the appearance of the senile old body
as a result of the “… inevitable decline
of the universal joint family,” (p. 17)
driven by ‘Western’ ideas of moderni-
zation and development.
Cohen cannot help but try to balance the irony of the transformation of intentional forgetfulness if not against the
Western links of incurable memory loss and
the pathology of the Alzheimer’s, then with
the classic Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy
(rasayana) that seeks, as he suggests,
“avoidance of old age altogether through
longevity” (p. 93). However, he does not
explain rasayana therapy as an inversion
that can cure old age. In fact, although citing the popular labeling of rasayana as “Indian geriatrics”, Cohen recognizes the
shifts in the tradition caused by the impact
of biomedical categories and the availability of modified rasayana drugs that are increasingly targeted at younger users because their effects are becoming too potent
for the elderly (p. 111).
The temporal dimension of old age
and the shifting meanings attached to the
process of growing old are a binding thread
throughout the ethnography. Cohen reflects
on his childhood experiences of senility as
“…loosing your marbles, in old people who
weren’t getting enough blood to their
brains”, and college lectures about “…senility [as] a cognitive defense against the
mindlessness of institutionalized old age”
(p. 5). He was able to trace the rewriting
of the standard narrative of Alzheimer’s
into a distinct disease category, which was
separated from the “normal” anatomy of
senile dementia (p. 79). He further argues
this shift to be one of the crucial moments
responsible for the organic changes in the
brain to be included as a part of the classic
narrative of the modern Alzheimer’s movement. As well, this allowed for the subsequent rebirth of the disease in popular tabloids as the “fourth leading killer” (p. 60).
Following the logic of tabloids, it appears
that the true sufferer is not the initial victim, but what Cohen phrases as “the body
of the caretaker” (p. 51). In this way, instead of just providing a critique of
medicalization, Cohen engages a larger
debate to include the relationships of multiple agents involved in the processes of
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aging with shifts in social dynamics allowing for the exchange of constructed
Although Cohen states early in
the book how his intentions are not to
compare (p. 7), he does fall into the trap
of trying to locate the frame of reference about aging and dementia in India
that would fit his medical categories.
However, he quickly comes to realize
the reliance on formal assessments and
regional demographic data can easily
become misleading. By shifting his focus from a “… hoped-for sample” (p.
36) to “… asking about old age” (p. 37),
other questions become more relevant.
This allows for the recognition of one
of the central themes in his ethnography: the paradox of no aging in India.
Cohen argues that the task of Indian
gerontology is to re-create the old age
that was once erased as its object and
appropriated by narratives about the
decline in the joint family that are constructed only from experiences of the
elite and urban middle class men (p. 89).
From this it follows that the processes
of aging in India are not conditioned by
only biological decay of the body, but
with the changes in the structure of the
family and social support, which is influenced by modernization and Westernization. In his review of the academic
critiques on the gerontological myths
about the change in the treatment
“before“and “since” modernization,
Cohen draws attention to the calls for
“indigenous’ gerontology that would
counter the “Bad Family” as a creation
of international gerontology (p. 103).
However, he continues that narratives
of the Fall keep repeating themselves
and should not be that easily dismissed.
Indian narratives about what it means
to grow old are less concerned with
memory loss as a marker of normal versus abnormal aging than with the sense
of family experience. In contrast to
memory loss as the key symptom con-
nected with Alzheimer’s, Cohen brings forward a number of narratives that reflect the
varieties of experiences that are completely
ignored when the body is reduced only to
organic processes in the brain. Perhaps the
closest term to the English “senility” is
“going sixtyish” (sathiyana). Cohen
presents this as an intergenerational concept in aging, where the authority of the
“hot brained” sixty-year-old may be challenged as result of the shifts in the power
dynamics within family (p. 157). Other
narratives concerned with aging shift in
their focus across different classes. In interviews with middle-class residents of
Varanasi, Cohen finds how people often
speak of balancing their tension (kamzori),
which is in turn quite different from worry
(cinta) (p. 194). Weakness is also central
to the experience in Nagwa, however, rather
than attributing its origins to the Western
influences on the demise of Indian family,
the burden is credited to the existing caste
order. Furthermore, Cohen notes a difference where weakness is “quantified”
through the distributed pieces of food
(chapati) shared among the residents (p.
230). In contrast to the medical treatment,
the embodiment of old age in these
neighborhoods is dependent on the family
and it requires care (seva). By juxtaposing
the experiences of individuals from different social setting and across generational
spans, Cohen is able to uncover the shifting meanings of the old body and its relationship to the creation of social and cultural practices that form the basis of the
process of growing old.
The selection of themes in this review includes only a small part of data
Cohen brings forward in his ethnography.
His critical engagement with issues of the
aging body and its relationship to the social and cultural experience of what is often captured in terms “Western” or “Indian”, provides a departure from the common perceptions of aging as a universal life
stage. The central themes of medicalization
and the Bad Family provide the core of
Cohen’s arguments and the basis for most
- 89 -
of his reflections, but the importance of
other detail cannot be overstated in an
ethnography that draws on such a broad
scope of collected data and reflects on
one of the most challenging issues in gerontology and medical anthropology.
Cohen’s attention to detail, juxtapositions
of themes, and use of theories has the
potential to inspire a new wave of research interests in anthropology and gerontology. His use of language mirrors the
diversity of issues and theoretical ap-
proaches, as well as the broad extent of the
audience he may reach and inspire to think
broadly. This book can be considered one
of the great pieces of anthropological scholarship, as well as a detailed account on the
culture areas in both India and North
America. Although the overwhelming
amount of detail may appear to dilute some
of the themes and make them seem less
significant than others, a careful reader can
always discover a new layer in Cohen’s
analysis that motivates a rethinking of the
more traditional hierarchies of causes.
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Cynthia Korpan
Visual Anthropology:
A review of Working Images
Pink, Sarah, Laszlo Kurti, and Ana Isabel Alfonso. Working Images: Visual Research and Representation
in Ethnography. London and New York: Routledge. 2004. 224 p.
Biographcal Statement
Cynthia Korpan is a M.A. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Victoria. Her interests lie in
visual studies, performance culture, media, and the arts. She is currently working on “The Inkameep
Day School Project” taking a visual and textual analysis approach to plays produced by children in
the 1930s.
I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Andrea Walsh for her valuable support and encouragement.
Sarah Pink et al.’s most recent edited
book addressing visual research is comprised of a compilation of papers that
were given at the Working Images Conference, held in Lisbon, Portugal in
2001. This conference was organized by
the editors of this volume and the European Association of Social Anthropologists. The conference and this subsequent book are centered on the use of
the visual in ethnography and would be
of interest to researchers in visual anthropology and sociology. As Felicia
Hughes-Freeland correctly points out in
the epilogue, the publication brings together a “wide range of arguments and
approaches” (204) to visual research and
representation. The case studies and fieldwork experiences represented in this book
explore through an interdisciplinary lens
how various visual media are involved in
the process of knowledge creation. What
the contributors stress are the “processes
of research and representation” (3), with
the obvious inclusion of the now common
recognition of the importance of reflexivity. The book has been divided into two
sections: the first is about visual research
methods in ethnography and the second
concerns visual ethnographic representation. Each chapter provides visual examples of the various types of representations
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with which the various authors are working: archival photos, illustrations, photographs, or snapshots of multimedia
The methods section covers
video, photography, and drawing with
the first chapter by Cristina Grasseni
exploring video both as a means of filming and as used by a community of cattle breeders. The crux of Grasseni’s inquiry is in examining the ways we see,
arguing for the study of “vision as a
skilled sense” (27), and the need for anthropology of vision. The cattle breeders who are the focus of her study use
visual documentation of cattle in their
work; as a result, the training of their
vision becomes an important element in
the process of successful breeding. This
is a reliance on the skilled eye: what
could be termed tacit sight, or professional vision. The author, just like the
subjects of her ethnographic work, had
to learn how to see cattle.
In the next chapter, Gemma
Orobitg Canal, looks at various ways
that images can be used in ethnographic
data production specifically focusing on
the authors work in the Pume village of
Ricieto. Orobitg’s experimentation with
visual documentation happened by
chance when local documentarians expressed interest in a film about Venezuela. This led Orobitg to take photographs in Ricieto upon her first visit
there, which subsequently led her to realize the potential of images for her work
in several ways. Firstly, as a memory
tool, similar to a notebook; secondly as
a communication device between herself and the people with whom she was
working; and thirdly, so as to reconstruct
the focus of her work, the imaginary
sphere. This imaginary sphere refers to
the dream world which has become the
real place of existence for the Pume: a
place where the ill are cured, mythical
beings are communicated with, and social conflicts are resolved. Orobitg decided to use black and white film for
the waking documentation and colour film
to represent the world of dreams.
Chapter 4 by Lazlo Kurti investigates the relationship between postcards
and what they represent to a community
near Budapest. Kurti continues the overriding theme in all of the chapters: the relationship between images and texts, and
how they can work closely together to provide different types of knowledge. Kurti’s
work began as an archival photo project for
the community, whereby he describes his
approach to this archive and his methods
of categorizing and analyzing. Through this
investigation into the design and the featured iconography, Kurti is able to identify
the changing political face of this community, evident in the public images produced
for these postcards. This highlights the
overly constructed nature of postcards since
they are part of a larger process of dissemination of information.
The next chapter moves into the
realm of drawing and how this mode of
expression has been little used or analyzed
as a viable means of anthropological inquiry. The author, Ana Isabel Afonso, labels this medium “graphic anthropology”
(87). Afonso discusses how gaps of information were filled in with regards to her
ethnographic work in Portugal, through the
production of illustrations about historical
information that was provided by local informants. This began a process and series
of drawings, whereby the drawings became
a mnemonic device: once a certain activity
was revealed through the illustrations, the
informant’s memories would be recovered,
and this would lead to more drawings. By
employing this method in her research,
which the author refers to as “a continuous
crossover between words and images” (89),
Afonso was able to provide a much more
detailed account of social change in regards
to her work, even opening up new areas of
In Chapter 6, Iain R. Edgar explores
the experiential research method of image
work in ethnographic fieldwork. The author explores three types of image work
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which he explains as: the first is introductory image work, whereby the participants are simply asked to imagine
something; the second is memory image work where they are asked to specifically recall earlier events from their
lives; the third, spontaneous image
work, uses a Jungian active imagination
technique. To analyze any of the work
from these three types, the author suggests four stages: the first is the participant’s description; the second is their
explanation of symbols they used; the
third is the analysis of the models they
used; and lastly their work is compared
to other participants. Image work outputs can include art, drama, dance, or
mask making. The author gives examples of each type from his own work,
ending with a weighted discussion about
the ethical aspects of this work, offering ethical and safe guidelines for practitioners.
The second part of the book focuses on representation, beginning with
Paul Henley looking at observational
cinema as a valuable tool in generating
knowledge during fieldwork, and subsequently how this knowledge can be
represented through this same medium.
Via an extensive exploration of the history of observational cinema Henley
situates his own understanding of this
The chapter “Revealing the Hidden” is about a Spanish ethnographic
film making unit that considers themselves to be interdisciplinary, democratic, and collaborative, viewing the
films produced as instruments of social
transformation. The films arise from the
subjects themselves who identify social
issues that need to be addressed. These
same subjects become full research and
film making collaborators, all working
together to make their story public. The
authors discuss their methodologies and
process, highlighting the collaborative
stance and the subject’s involvement.
In the “Drawing the Lines”
chapter, the author looks at ekphrasis,
which means description in Greek and is
“conceived as an important tool in the study
of the aesthetic impact of a description in
the reader’s/spectator’s mind” (148). The
author combines anthropological fieldwork
with illustration, which creates activities
that help explain his work as well as create
a space of discussion with the people he is
working with: producing images for
intercultural communication. Examples of
where this approach has been successful
and not successful are provided by the author.
Chapter 10 entitled “In the Net” is
a collaboratively written chapter between
the documentary photographer, Olivia da
Silva and visual anthropologist, Sarah Pink.
They take a look at da Silva’s project called
“In the Net” which was approached by the
photographer with ethnographic research
and anthropological concepts in mind. The
photographer used long-term participant observation and visual ethnographic methods
to compare the culture and identity of two
fishing villages: one in England and the
other in Portugal. Pink’s interest was to
learn of innovations in documentary photography and how this may inform new
ways of “representing ethnography photographically” (160).
In the next chapter Sarah Pink takes
a look at hypermedia and how it offers a
way to integrate the visual and textual in
anthropological arguments in a manner that
showcases the best of both modes of representation. To illustrate how this may work,
Pink draws on her own work on the
gendered home. Importantly, Pink identifies how each component of a hypermedia
project needs to be analyzed and scrutinized
to ensure that their stitching together is
strong. She then utilizes montage style to
layer all of the components together so that
the reader/viewer can access the information they want. In the epilogue, HughesFreeland notes how this medium provides
a new experience of writing where pictures
are not simply illustrative of the words. This
new relationship requires new ways of
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thinking about the medium.
The next chapter is about
Roderick Coover’s ethnographic work is
situated amongst the vineyards of France
and centered upon the intersection of actions, events and the use of objects. To
produce a documentary, Coover combines a melange of participant observation, interviews, archival research, photo
studies, video recordings, and digital
programs. By the utilization of this
method, Coover points out that “The
reader-viewer can examine the ethnographic process, image-making choices
and intellectual arguments at the same
time” (200).
The epilogue is provided by the
experienced words of Felicia HugesFreeland, who challenges anthropologists to “explore his (David
MacDougall’s) challenge to start from
the (visual) image and to think about
how we might develop image-led learning” (210). As well the author cites institutions of resistance as providing another challenge to the future of visual
research. This resistance is against technology and other forms of knowledge
production, when compared to “the
power of the word” (216).
As I embark in my own graduate work as a visual researcher, what this
book provided for me were ample examples of the complexity of visual culture, which fittingly explains the vastness of approaches to the subject. Of
practical use are the nuggets of experiential wisdom from researchers, such as:
Grasseni utilizing the video camera like
a video diary and the resulting film as a
commodity, exchanging edits for food,
time, and access; Orobitg’s explanation
of the attributes of photo-elicitation in
her work, the effect of how she framed
her shots, and the insight that drawings
provided into the Pume world view; Kurti’s
archival methodologies which provided
information about what was outside the
frame; Afonso’s recognition of the plasticity of drawing and the wealth of information this simple tool can provide; Edgar’s
ethical concerns regarding visual work;
Henley’s suggestions for ways to approach
an updated observational cinema; Baena et
al.’s collaborative experience and their interest in applied visual anthropology;
Ramos’ lessons about intercultural interpretation; Pink’s expansion of how to think
about photography’s contribution to anthropology; and Pink’s and Coover’s experiments with hypermedia and the interplay
of text and images. This new area of visual
representation provokes challenges within
the discipline, while at the same time providing an exciting new medium in which
to express anthropological theories and research. I think that the articles within this
volume touch on many of the aspects of
concern that surface when working with
interactive multimedia, such as
intercultural interpretation, ethics, collaboration, and representation.
I highly recommend this book for
anyone interested in visual research, especially if interested in a wide range of approaches and in the capabilities of the world
of visual methods and documentation.
References Cited:
Pink, Sarah, Lasazlo Kurti and Ana Isabel Afonso,
2004 Working Images: Visual Research and
Representation in Ethnography. London and New York: Routledge.
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Hülya Demirdirek
(Ph.D. University of Oslo)
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, transnational labour migration, sex labour,
identity, ethnicity, postsocialism, former Soviet Union, Moldova
Leland H. Donald
(Ph.D. Oregon)
ETHNOLOGY, social organization, ethnohistory, quantitative methods, Pacific
Lisa Gould
(Ph.D. Washington U. St. L.)
BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, primate behavior, ecology, primate
demography and life history hormones and behavior, Madagascar
Yin Lam
(Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook)
PALAEOANTHROPOLOGY, Stone Age Archaeology, Zooarchaeology, SubSaharan Africa
Quentin Mackie
(Ph.D. Southampton)
ARCHAEOLOGY, Northwest coast, archaeological methods and theory,
spatial analysis
Margo L. Matwychuk
(Ph.D. CUNY)
ETHNOLOGY, anthropology of power, rural societies, political economy, elites,
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, medical anthropology, gender, technology and
Lisa M. Mitchell
(Ph.D. Case Western Reserve U) the body, ultrasound imaging, children, Philippines, Canada.
April S. Nowell
(Ph.D. Pennsylvania)
PALEOLITHIC ARCHAEOLOGY, taphonomy; lithic technology, evolution of
human cognition, origins of language, art, symboling, Western Europe, Near
Eric A. Roth
(Ph.D. Toronto)
BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, demography, pastoralists, nutrition, growth
and development in Africa
Peter H. Stephenson
(Ph.D. Toronto)
APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY, medical anthropology, Aging & Society,
Indigenous peoples in Global Perspective, communal societies, refugees,
Native Peoples, Canada, Europe, Australia
Andrea N. Walsh
(Ph.D. York)
VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY, visual culture & theory, visual research methods,
art, photography, film & new media, 20th Century + Contemporary First Nations
Visual Culture, Canada
Margot Wilson
(Ph.D. Southern Methodist)
ETHNOLOGY, medical, development and applied anthropology, gender
studies, Bangladesh, India
For information on the Master of Arts program in Anthropology
at the University of Victoria, as well as a listing of current
graduate students, please visit the departmental website: http:/
Michael I. Asch
(Ph.D. Columbia)
SOCIAL STRUCTURE, ethnomusicology, political and legal anthropology,
hunting trapping economics, Sub arctic (Professor, Limited Term)
Heather Botting
(Ph.D. Alberta)
ETHNOLOGY, symbolic anthropology; anthropology of religion and political
anthropology (Senior Instructor)
Moyra Brackley
(Ph.D. Toronto)
BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, population health molecular epidemiology,
forensic anthropology (Anthropology Adjunct, Research Associate, Centre
on Aging)
Marjorie Mitchell
(Ph.D. UBC)
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, linguistic anthropology, feminist anthropology
development, Southeast Asia, North Pacific Coast First Nations (Adjunct
Assistant Professor)
Michael P. Tsosie
(M.A. U of California)
ETHNOLOGY, Ethnography, cultural anthropology, American Indian Studies,
cultural history, tribal cataloguing, historical collections, art. (Director,
Indigenous Studies Program)
Rebecca (Becky) Wigen
(M.A. Victoria)
ARCHAEOLOGY, faunal analysis; seasonality studies; comparative skeletal
collections; taphonomy (Senior Lab Instructor)
Lesley Butt
(Ph.D. McGill)
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, medical anthropology, Melanesia gender,
sexuality, reproduction (Pacific & Asian Studies)
R. Christopher Morgan
(Ph.D. Australian Nat’l U)
ECONOMIC ANTHROPOLOGY, ethnography and world systems, social
structure, Fuji, Polynesia, Tonga (Pacific & Asian Studies)
Nancy J. Turner
(Ph.D. U British Columbia)
ETHNOBOTANY, ethnoecology, British Columbia (Environmental Studies)
Wendy Wickwire
(Ph.D. Wesleyan)
ORAL HISTORY, life history, ethnomusicology, history of anthropology,
British Columbia (Environmental Studies and History)
R. Brendan Burke
(Ph.D. UCLA)
ARCHAEOLOGIST, Classical Greece, the Bronze Age Aegean, and Iron Age
Anatolia (Greek and Roman Studies)
Marcus Milwright
(Ph.D. Oxford)
ARCHAEOLOGIST, Medieval Islamic Art and Archaeology
(History in Art)
John P. Oleson
(Ph.D. Harvard)
ARCHAEOLOGIST, Ancient technology, Near Eastern archaeology
maritime archaeology, underwater archaeology (Greek and Roman Studies)
Secretary: [email protected]; Ph: (250)
Graduate Advisor: [email protected]
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