Panel Organizer: Amanda Davis Arthur (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Utah State University
Andrea Luithle-Hardenberg (Eberhard-Karls-University Tuebingen), email@example.com “Jaina Bal Munis: Controversies on Ascetic Children in Western India”
Doris Bonnet (EHESS,Paris) firstname.lastname@example.org
Hillary N. Fouts (Univ. Tennessee) email@example.com
Elodie Razy (Univ. Liege) firstname.lastname@example.org
Chantal Medaets (Université Paris Descartes) email@example.com
This panel will highlight the enormous variability in the social construction of the person. The infant is in a liminal state, not yet fully human. This may be advantageous if the child serves as an intermediary to ancestors or deities or threatening as a harmful spirit or changeling. Naming and other rites of passage mark the slow transformation of the proto-human.
The making of cultural identity in the case of “unattached” children
Panel Organizer: Silvia Vignatoa and Giuseppe Bolotta
Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Milano, Italy
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
20126 Milano, Italy
Phd candidate, Italy
Università of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
20126 Milano, Italy
9) Silvia Vignato
Assistant Professor, Italy
Università di Milano-Bicocca
Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
20126 Milano, Italy
10) Matteo Alcano
Università di Milano-Bicocca
Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
20126 Milano, Italy
11) Sylvia Meichsner
A growing number of “unattached" children, that is, children who grow up outside some kind of stable kinship/residential group, characterizes the youngest and poorest populations of the world. They tend to live on the margin of the public sphere and of the major economic, political, and cultural processes. Institutions of care such as homes or outreach stations, be they State-run, religious or NGO based, are often the unique point of reference for these youngsters and thus religious beliefs or/and ideologies of “child suffering” play a prominent role in their identity construction process. Panel members will provide analysis of the role of ideology in the socialization of unattached children. Panelists will consider both the messages conveyed to “clients” by the aid organization as well as the children’s interpretation and use of such messages in the process of managing their own face or identity.
1. With the impact of conflict and AIDS, youth-headed households in Kenya live in a situation of chronic crisis, dealing with extreme poverty and subject to physical and sexual exploitation and abuse. There is a need to better understand how forces in the social environment impact the suffering of individuals and groups as well as to localize understandings of suffering, including sexual identity formation of youth. Taking a structural perspective, this ethnographic and participatory study examines youth-headed households in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya in order to understand their perception of the suffering they endure – its causes, the daily lived experiences and ways to alleviate it. The social processes at the interface between youth’s daily lived experience and perceptions of suffering and the actions and influence of the actors in their social environment will also be explored, taking into account the impact on the sexual identity formation of youth.
2. In recent years a strong national and international critique of the Haitian system of child domestic labor (restavek) has emerged. Spearheaded by NGOs, children’s rights and faith-based organizations, this critique frequently characterizes this system as one of “child slavery,” in which unattached or "separated" children are represented as passive victims of poverty and adult brutality. Based on ethnographic interviews with circulating child domestic laborers in the Southwest region of Haiti, this paper explores how work figures in children's lives in the context of cultural notions of kinship, belonging, and spirituality.Instead of undermining children's identity, work can function as a means of identity affirmation and belonging within kinship relationships that are complex and constantly under threat. Despite often undeniably difficult situations, children can and do maintain ambitions for a future in which labor and learning lead to identities “that matter.”
3. The article aims to illustrate the impact of Yogyakarta’s perpetually changing charity landscape on “street children’s” coping strategies. By analysing the children’s and youths’ social encounters with NGO-activists, I will demonstrate that their practices of collective identity construction are highly intertwined with global NGO-policies and their definitions of “what a real street child is”. Only if they manage to embody the images of this “universalized street child” and adapt to continuously changing global NGO-policies, socio-economic security networks and emotional well-being can be established
4. Ethnographical data showed that there is a significant difference between homeless of different ages. This evidence contribute to the theoretical debate about the limits between childhood, adolescence and youth. This article will explore cultural identity of a group of young crack users (9-17 years old) living in a central square of a big metropolis in Northeast Brazil. I will show how the relation between street children and a local NGO has changed after the diffusion of crack in 2007. Namely, I will analyze how children and street social workers experience, imagine and express the presence of crack. The presentation will debrief micro and macro logics that shape the experience of many children in contemporary Brazil. This is an attempt to articulate the social experience of crack with a specific phase in the lifecycle. The subjective experience of crack to Northeastern Brazil will be linked to his political economy.
5. Child mobility in West Africa is a complex phenomenon which implies long separations between a child and his/her biological parents. Over the last 40 years, scholars from different disciplines have identified multiple patterns of youth displacement and created various labels to describe these situations. The most common are fosterage, circulation of children, child relocation, child migration and custom adoption. Some of these practices are currently undergoing deep transformations deriving from economical crises and determine at-risk situations.
Moreover, the recent discourses promoted by international organizations produced new labels, which redefine both communities’ and actors’ perceptions of child mobility. This presentation aims at exploring the social constructions deriving from the introduction of two global categories: the “vulnerable child” and the “unattached child”. As a result of this ideological shifting, young people develop paradoxical aspirations, which lead them to leave their parents’ homes in order to get closer to “white people’s places”.
6. Drawing upon my experience with Nabadisha, this paper is concerned with girls and boys who are surviving in a particular geographic, socio-economic, political and cultural context. In recognition that children are social actors in their own right, whose views and perceptions need to be understood, this paper gives space for children’s own experiences and perceptions about their everyday life, dreams and aspirations, and also discusses the approaches employed to gather information. This paper explores relationship shared by children with stakeholders such as parents, police, and non government organizations. I argue that listening to children’s views and perspectives is particularly important if we wish to gain a greater understanding of the similarities and differences between different children’s lives. In planing programmes and policies for children, it is important to recognize the diversity among children’s life experiences, and to respond to children within their local community context.
7. Based on an intensive field-work at the “Tuek Deang”, a slum of Bangkok, this paper explores the multiple constitution of subjectivity for some “slum children”. In Thailand, Buddhist temples and monastic novitiate trails are traditional channels of social mobility for poor and disadvantaged children. In the last decades, new players have taken an increasing importance in the assistential scenario of the slums: NGOs and “charitable” institutions related to the local Catholic Church. The children I present here were born in “Tuek Deang” and are raised in a catholic “charitable” institution as “unattached children”. They attend school and sometimes visit the Buddhist temple adjacent to the slum.
The slum, the Catholic institution and the temple all contribute to the children's cultural process of self-definition. I will show how the children themselves handle the contradictions among the different subjective, political and religious positions that they are requested to reproduce in the different contexts they live and grow in.
8. Since the late 1970’s a small but increasing number of parents in the US claim their children are “indigo”, i.e possess special traits or abilities, ranging from thinking they are the next stage in human evolution or practice telepathy, to the belief that they are simply more empathic and creative than their peers.
Drawing on an ethnographic research started in July 2011 and based on in-depth interviews and participant observation within “indigo families” in the New York and Detroit areas, this paper analyses the indigo children ideology as it is played out strategically and selectively in the family member’s everyday lives.
This would reveal a strategy of self-labelling deeply connected with the resilience of kids and their parents, particularly in terms of managing societal violence (i.e excessive medicalization) and accessing economic benefits, in a context of declining educational welfare and increasing socio-economical marginalization.
9. This paper is based on an ongoing non-continuate fieldwork focusing on the life of children in Aceh (Indonesia). Acehnese society is recovering from both a 30-year long civil conflict and a major ecologic disaster (the 2004 tsunami). Thousands of children relie on Islam-informed institutions both to survive and to grow up in a rightful way (attend school, receive personal care and treatments). They grow up in a continuous exchange between home and homes. WIthin this dynamic, I shall look into one specific question. If in a post-conflict context childhood is considered as a metaphor of recovery what happens to children who explode the metaphore and suffer or twist the healthy and moral standard? In this light, the paper re-reads a 4 year experience and looks for a larger theoretical frame to encompass the Acehnese children's upbringing .
10. This paper presents ethnography of street children from the slums of Surabaya (East Java), corridors commonly named lorong, I describe the urban space of the lorong, the social enclaves that traverse heterogeneous areas of the city of Surabaya and the life of urban youth formations. While the boundaries of the lorong are quite pliant its territory is marked by internal divisions and factions, and exposed to outside aggressions. Youth groups (not yet assimilable to gangs) provide micro-regimens of order and promote communal forms of belonging; their aim is to protect their immediate material needs (the sale and consumption of drugs) and their friends and neighbors from outside thieves, criminals and gangs. These youngsters justify their violence as being motivated by “respect” for their “friendship” and for their neighborhood. In this context, what seems to be an inherently destructive form of group violence and street warfare arguably presents constructive elements, both at the social and individual (personal and identity) level.
11. This paper looks closely at the identity construction processes of children and young people in institutions of residential care in the Mexican-American border zone that are established and maintained by religious groups. The peculiarities of this geographical area allow for the unfolding of a specific discourse on child-saving that synthesizes religious values and perceptions of reality in varying degrees of accuracy. It serves to justify institutional agency and generates support in various forms.
Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this paper seeks to track back how the inmates’ strategies of identity construction are moulded by the narratives intersecting in this discourse which includes an ability to translate on one’s life history and possibly unfortunate living experiences into symbolic capital.
Strategies of social mobility emerging from the navigation within the formal structures and informal rules of this total institution shall be illuminated and institutional responses to the inmates’ agency shall be outlined and analysed with the help of sociological theories explaining how children learn race, class and gender, of Anderson’s concept of the ‘imagined community’ and of Rose’s reflections on governance in educational institutions.
Such a close look at these micro-interactions is important as it shall contribute to readjust common conceptions on residential care for children and young people, especially in countries of the majority world.
Panel Organizer: Uwe Skoda (Aarhus Univ. firstname.lastname@example.org) Anemone Platz (Aarhus Univ), Denmark
Associate Professor, Department of History, Sri Venkateswara College / University of Delhi
Associate Professor, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University
email@example.com 4. Sunita Reddy, JNU, New Delhi
Paper: “Anthropos India Foundation: New Initiative in Visual Anthropology”
5. Anemone Platz (Aarhus University), firstname.lastname@example.org 6.KseniaNazaryev (Pomor State Univ) email@example.com-
Paper-“An Image of a Schoolchild in Selected Soviet Feature Films (1970-1985)”
While visual culture in India, South Asia, and Asia more generally, has received more scholarly attention in recent years anthropological studies have focused primarily on contemporary photographic practices from a broader perspective (including the role of photographs in marriages and portrait photographs). Historical approaches have privileged the study of how “natives” were depicted under colonial rule or gender rather than children and childhoods. In order to rectify this bias the panel invites contributions that focus explicitly on children and the ways they have been visualized, portrayed or captured by the camera. Are children presented primarily as (perhaps immature) adults or in distinct ways? It is imagined that this question will raise further questions related to the concept of the person, the role of children in rituals, their place in educational institution, in family life etc. Moreover, how are images of children used: when and in which contexts are the viewed and where are they kept? And last, but not least, how do children use the camera themselves and which self-representations do they produce?
Paper Abstract: My paper proposes to analyse the way film makers have used kids in the films and located them in almost bizarre social vaccuum. I would argue with examples from a popular Hindi film Koi Mil Gaya ( I found some one, Dir: Rakesh Roshan, 2003) that kids have been used as loose and moving props with no properly etched characterization and no fixed place in the story line. Easily replaceable they actually represent the lost childhood of millions of poor kids who are used and abused in millions of shops and houses as almost free labour. My paper would argue that kids without reference to family and social belonging used in film/s are like real lost childhoods in many ways and I would try to show the same in my paper. unlike the main character Rohit has a finely defined and detailed family line but the kids in the film has been used without any effort at characterization. While to a casual onlooker it might mean almost nothing as many characters in any average film are not defined at all. The Hindi films in general have a casual approach towards age and aging and childhood is no exception.
2. Women’s liberation movement is now turning the middle-class women to careers for personal satisfaction and self-enrichment rather than simply for supplemental income. This situation is creating Dual Career families where both parents are engaged in their professional careers outside home and confront the day to day challenge of managing family tasks and respective gender roles. Children in these families often get deprived from their proper social and emotional upbringing and develop a different type of perspective in visualizing parental roles. Against this backdrop, this paper tries to explore how these children are visualizing their working parents, it discusses how parents are visualizing them and throws light about the expectation of the children of how they should be visualized by their parents. Data were collected by interview, observation, case study and focus group discussion methods. The present study makes an humble attempt to visualize children in such dual career families of Sambalpur city of Odisha.
3. Starting from the relatively extensive archives of former royal families in central eastern India the paper maps the ways children have been portrayed in these families in the 20th century. How were children depicted in formal studio photographs? Which backdrops or props were used to situate them, to express their status and to explore their (potential) life? When and in which situations were photographs taken in relatively more private surroundings? How were children portrayed together with adults and how alone? Which markers suggest, distinguish or signify childhood? How is this form of portraiture linked to the life cycle, concepts of the person and how has it changed in 20th century? The paper tries to answer such questions and to outline tendencies in photographing children.
4. A commission of visual anthropology was held in Ranchi way back in 1977 and was published in Review of Enthnology bulletin. In Colonial context Indian cultures and tribes have been documented for a different purpose. It’s almost a forgotten sub-discipline thereafter. Keshari N Sahay published a book ‘Visual Anthropology In India’, not much work has been done. Today the Tribal Ministries and Departments have films on tribes only for tourism purposes. India with diversity of cultures and more than 600 tribes waiting to be understood and documented, the scope is unimaginable. Various film makers are making alternate films and documentaries, basically from media background. Understanding of ethnography and making ethnographic films is not yet thought off by the media or anthropologists. There is an urgent need to provide a platform where scholars can post their research, visual images and videos immediately, upload and disseminate. With super fast technology the issues from any remote corner can be brought in the forefront, more so the issues of marginalized and powerless. Anthropos India Foundation is one such initiative where a dynamic website will not only provide a platform to share the anthropological research but the aim of AIF is also to train and equip the scholars with ethnographic film making skills and present their research in visual format.
Adolescence in Today’s World
Panel Organizer: Alice Schlegel (Univ Arizona) firstname.lastname@example.org
“A Cross-Cultural (and Cross-Species) View of Adolescence.” This presentation will introduce the session.
William Jankowiak(Univ of Nevada at Las Vegas) “Chinese Emergent Youth.”
HaraldTambs-Lyche. (University of Picardie-Jules Verne France)
Horst D. Steklin and Netzin G. Steklin (Univ of Arizona)
Nishant Saxena, Anthropological Survey of India, N.W.R.C., 192/1, Kaulagarh ,Road, Dehradun-248195.Mail- email@example.com
This session will contain papers on adolescence in a range of present-day cultures. To extend the cross-cultural reach to a cross-species level, it will also contain a paper on adolescence in (non-human) primates. We shall see that there are certain constant features of adolescence across cultures (and some across species) along with many variations and their contexts.
Abstract (by Nishant Saxena):
The present research is a case study conducted among the young Gurkha population residing in Karbari Grant village of Dehradun district in Uttarakhand, India. Gurkhas are amigrant population which have believed to come here about 250 years ago and famous for their bravery and war techniques. During a course of stay with them and through the usage of anthropological techniques – firstly non-participant observation and then semi-structured interviews, the researcher hypothesized and proved that young ones are promotion focus oriented (Higgins, 1997 & 1998). This means young ones focus on achievements, they are oriented toward fulfilling their hopes and aspirations, openness to change and experience. Moreover, they examine their social world for information that bears on the quest of success. The study puts in context the mind-set of young Gurkhas who are driven towards growth, while on the other hand their elder counterparts in the community are focused on preserving their traditions and maintenance of status-quo.