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Last Build Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2016 01:35:09 PDT

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Ecology in Development: A Rationale for Three-Dimensional Policy

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:36:07 PDT

This combination of theoretical, topical and geographical focus integrates the social and natural science approaches to problems of ecology in development in South-west Asia. Permits coherent treatment, in an argument of reasonable length, of (1) some of the major areas of accumulation of ecological knowledge and insight in relation to development, (2) the changes of emphasis in ecological interests among planners, (3) the development and integration of theory (especially the efforts to straddle the boundaries of sociological and ecological understanding), (4) the changing perceptions of man's relation to nature, and (5) the underlying moral problems of management and welfare. The changes of orientation in each of these arenas over the last decade are treated below not simply as another stage of progress to confirm our faith in the perfectibility of man, but as a function of a larger historical process of increasing awareness and communication, the beginnings of which would have to be sought at least as far back as the Industrial Revolution.

Globalization via World Urbanization: The Crucial Phase

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:36:03 PDT

Globalization: The Crucial Phrase brings together scholars of anthropology and social science, as well as law and medicine to examine the challenges and opportunities introduced by rapid globalization, including economic diversity, education, labor, health, and environmental concerns.

Insiders and Outsiders in Baluchistan: Western and Indigenous Perspectives on Ecology and Development

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:59 PDT

We have generally become used to the idea that ethnographers are a part of what they study. They live in the community they study and participate in the events and (ideally) in the social and cultural processes which they analyze and interpret. They cannot stand either theoretically or method­ologically outside what they study - even though we do not perhaps all of us always manage to follow through with the implications of this con­dition.

The evolutionary ecologist knows implicitly that his professional ac­tivity, like all other human activity, takes place within the evolutionary process. But this orientation towards his subject matter tends to be very different from that of the ethnographer. Other investigators, and particu­larly economists and development planners, study unequivocally from without - they translate the laboratory-objectivity tradition of Western scientific method into the field. The growing emphasis on popular partic­ipation in development planning and implementation draws attention to these differences of orientation. In this chapter a case from Baluchistan will illustrate the significance of the difference.

The MAB Approach: Problems, Clarifications and a Proposal

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:54 PDT

Despite MAB's general success in promoting research on ecological problems from various points of view, the goal of integration still seems beyond reach. To the degree that integration has worked it has invariably involved the domination of one scientific discipline over others that could be persuaded to cooperate - especially of natural over social sciences - both in definition of research design and in formulation of questions. This problem derives partly from the relative scarcity of social scientists professionally interested in ecological problems, but also from the fact that social science comprehends a variety of approaches, based on different assumptions, all equally valid, leading to different but complementary results. A closer look at the variety and complementarity of a selection of different social science approaches suggests a promising model for the future development of the MAB Programme in the 1980s, which would take it closer to the goals it had previously sought through integration, and also towards the goal of improved communication and application of research findings. Not only the various social science approaches and different natural science approaches, but also the approaches of the other relevant actors-planners, politicians, extension workers, and, especially private (i.e. local) people -must be seen as complementary from the initial stage of the definition of the research problem through to the synthesis and application of the results. In this way, not only will the social sciences be effectively integrated into MAB but the more important goal of communication and application will also be assured.

Persian as Koine: Written Persian in World-Historical Perspective

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:50 PDT

Persian emerged as the common language of court life and administration in the Islamic world east of Baghdad in the 8th and 9th centuries (2nd and 3rd centuries into the Islamic era). The process began in Khurasan, the large historical region of southwest-central Asia, which besides the northeast quadrant of modern Iran included most of modern Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and northern Afghanistan. Persian radiated out from the pre-Islamic cities that became new power centers, filling the vacuum left by the declining political (as distinct from symbolic) role of the Caliphate in Baghdad. Persian spread to its greatest extent five centuries later, under Mongol and Turkic administrations, when it stretched from the Balkans in the west to southern India in the south and along the trade routes into central China in the east. A century later, it began to give way to the rise of vernacular languages—first in the west, where the use of Ottoman Turkish increased in the 15th century. It finally declined significantly in the east in India in the 19th century, where the British replaced it formally with Urdu and English in 1835. Over the past century and a half Persian has undergone a process of functional transformation, passing into the status of a classical language, as locally people began to write in Pashto, Sindhi, Urdu, and other vernaculars in the peripheral territories of the Islamic world. In the 20th century, at the expense of losing its unitary identity and universally standard form, Persian achieved the modern status of national language in three countries—in Afghanistan, (where it was renamed dari), in Iran (as Fārsi), and in Tajikistan (where it was renamed tajiki, or tojiki when transliterated from Cyrillic). It is still spoken widely in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and the southern littoral of the Persian Gulf, and continues to flourish among post-revolutionary diaspora communities in America, Asia, and Europe.

Pastoral Technology and Social Process in Baluchistan

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:46 PDT

What little anthropological research has been carried out so far in Baluchistan or in the larger Indo-Iranian borderland area between the north Indian plains and the Iranian Plateau has been little related to general South Asian concerns, and anthropologists working there have mostly not been area specialists. They have been attracted by the reputation of the tribes and the isolation of the country. Nevertheless, the work has been important and two insights in particular that it has generated have general interest for historians and anthropologists.

The Search for Mercy

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:42 PDT

The Whirlpool

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:38 PDT

Three Drops of Blood

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:34 PDT

The Stray Dog

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:30 PDT

Buried Alive

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:25 PDT


Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:21 PDT

The Significance of Desertification

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:17 PDT

Desertification constitutes a serious potential threat to the future of world food production - but in a rather more complex way than is represented in most of the arguments and figures published so far. The circumstances of the discovery of deser­tification led to a particular structuring of the campaign to combat it. From the begin­ning the campaign held the seeds of conflict in the form of political imbalance. The data that were gathered to further the campaign have served to fuel the conflict. Not only is the conflict not yet resolved: it has received little open discussion. Meanwhile, the campaign languishes.

This chapter seeks to disentangle some of the complexity in the desertification debate, in order to bring the problem into better perspective, so that its future signifi­cance can be realistically assessed. The presentation falls into four sections. The first reviews the background to the campaign. The second discusses the organisation of activities and of information, giving special attention to the inherent conflicts of interest that have (it is suggested) been responsible for the difficulties encountered in formulating and implementing practical measures to combat desertification. The third looks at the concept of desertification, as it has developed and continues to develop, as a rationalisation of the ideas generated in the campaign. The final section outlines the prospect for dealing with desertification insofar as it may affect food pro­duction at the global level, and formulates an approach to it that may be not only more acceptable politically but more comprehensive scientifically.

The Craft and Commerce of Oriental Carpets: Cultural Implications of Economic Success and Failure

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:12 PDT

What we recognize now as oriental carpets, especially pile-carpets, are currently made in most of the countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and southwest and Central Asia, including of course Pakistan and India, as well as China. The technique originated before 500 B.C. somewhere in the area that later became the culturally Irano-Turkic part of Asia. Royal patronage under the Sasanians (if not earlier empires) raised carpet production to the status of high art. The most highly regarded carpets have continued to come from Irano-Turkic areas (in­cluding the Caucasus). Carpets made to the west and south of these areas have remained derivative in both technique and design, and less admired, though sometimes of objectively excellent craftsmanship. (The Chinese tradition is also derivative but developed independently.)

Nomadism in Baluchistan

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:08 PDT

Baluchistan as the Baluch define it includes most of West Pakistan west of the Indus, the southwest corner of Afghanistan, and the southeastern province of Persia, and Baluch minorities are also to be found scattered far to the north of this area as far as Soviet Turkmenistan. However, this vast area has never constituted any sort of unit, except in a vague cultural and linguistic sense.

Introduction to Population Growth: Anthropological Implications

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:04 PDT

The relationship of agricultural development and population growth has long been debated by social scientists. In 1965 an economist, Ester Boserup, entered this debate with the proposal that population growth should be treated as the independent variable in technological and cul­tural change (The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure [Chicago: Aldine]). This pro­posal was not entirely new, although Malthusian respect for the,limits imposed by the inelastic carrying capacity of resources and rigid tech­nologies is still implicitly dominant in the literature. However, Boserup's thesis had not before been so comprehensively and logically worked out. In economics-the disciplinary context from which it arose-it has had a mixed reception, largely according to the ideological inclinations of the critics; and its implications for other disciplines, including anthropology, have been slow to percolate.

The Iranian Deserts

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:35:00 PDT

This chapter marks a transition in the volume from agriculture to other subsistence bases. It is concerned particularly with the effects of environment-and the technologies used to exploit it-on the culture and identity of pastoral nomadic groups, mining colonies, and certain agricultural communities specializing in different ranges of crops. It deals with an arid region where these three occupational categories are closely linked and interdependent economically. It suggests that before agricultural technology reached a stage of development that would allow exploitation of such a marginal region, exploitation by other means (for example, pastoralism) was not possible either, and excess population from the lush peripheries was not able to overflow into the deserts.

Developing World: Challenges and Opportunities

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:34:56 PDT

The complex problem which confronts us in the world's rangelands -- is the need to raise living standards, increase economic productivity, and at the same time reduce ecological stress -- is approached in this symposium from a number of different disciplinary points of view. The case material presented in the papers shows (in varying degrees) the significance of the accumulated experience and cultural ideals of the different types of people involved -- local pastoralists, Western-trained ecologists, planners - as well as the constraints and opportunities that derive from fluctuation in climate and political economy. s - as well as the constraints and opportunities that derive from fluctuation in climate and political economy. The role of human activity in the history of the rangeland ecosystem and the cultural memory of the ecological past are treated as complementary to the potential of social forms and cultural aims and values.

Introduction to Savushun: A Novel About Modern Iran

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:34:52 PDT

First published in 1969, Simin Daneshvar's Savushun has gone through sixteen printings and sold half a million copies -- a record for a work of literature in modern Iran. The reason is not obscure. Daneshvar's style is sensitive and imaginative. Her story follows basic cultural themes and metaphors. It goes straight to the hearts of a generation of Iranian readers, striking special chords of emotion and memory of the recent past. Savushun enriches a generation's understanding of itself. It encap­sulates the experience of Iranians who have lived through the midcen­tury decades which led up to the 1979 revolution. They feel immediate identity with the major characters, each of whom struggles in their own day-to-day lives with the social and historical forces that gave pre-revolutionary Iran its characteristic hopelessness and emerging desperation -- so inadequately understood by outsiders.

Desert and Sown: A New Look at an Old Relationship

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:34:48 PDT

Though explicit pronouncements are difficult to find, the historical literature on the Middle East seems to be based on the assumption that the large desert areas contain societies and economic systems which are for the most part autonomous, but which occasionally im­pinge--sometimes with catastrophic results--on the lusher agricultural and urbanized areas. The deserts are designated by terms equivalent to "wilderness" and "area of insolence"; they are represented as areas con­trolled by nomads, who are by definition opposed to the settled life of cities and agricultural villages. The cities with their agricultural hinterland represent or­der and security, while the nomads stand for chaos. Fi­nally, from time to time, the nomads erupt out of the desert and overrun the good land of the true believers.

Mobile Robots as Remote Sensors for Spatial Point Process Models

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:14:01 PDT

Spatial point process models are a commonly-used statistical tool for studying the distribution of objects of interest in a domain. We study the problem of deploying mobile robots as remote sensors to estimate the parameters of such a model, in particular the intensity parameter lambda which measures the mean density of points in a Poisson point process. This problem requires covering an appropriately large section of the domain while avoiding the objects, which we treat as obstacles. We develop a control law that covers an expanding section of the domain and an online criterion for determining when to stop sampling, i.e., when the covered area is large enough to achieve a desired level of estimation accuracy, and illustrate the resulting system with numerical simulations.

How to Make Money From Subliminal Advertising and Motivation Research

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:20:25 PDT

The news media began to report and editorialize about subliminal advertising in 1957, in response to events that are recounted in detail in Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Viewing, Charles Acland’s (2012) excellent history of the idea of subliminal influence (p. 91ff). Those events have been described by several previous writers, but one of the many virtues of Acland’s book is that he gives us the most carefully documented account to date.

Film: Visual Literacy

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:20:21 PDT

People who write about movies have traditionally referred to the conventions of cinematic representation—such things as low-angle shots, fade-outs, or flashbacks—as the “language” of film. Does the ability to understand this language require previous experience? Or, to put this question differently, would a “naive” viewer, someone who had never seen a movie before, be able to make any sense of his or her first encounter with this medium? The term visual literacy, popular among media scholars, reflects the widely held belief that the comprehension of cinematic conventions is indeed an acquired skill, comparable to fluency in reading or writing. In contemporary film scholarship, this belief is based largely on an extrapolation from the work of such writers as E. H. Gombrich regarding the cross-cultural variability of pictorial conventions. This body of literature is commonly assumed to have shown that any perceived similarity between pictures and the things they represent is simply the result of viewers’ unwitting assimilation of the representational standards of a particular culture or historical period. Consequently, it is argued, the ability to connect a picture to its intended referent must depend on prior familiarity with the conventions employed in that picture. As far as film is concerned, this argument has occasionally been supported by stories about misinterpretations reportedly experienced by early-twentieth-century filmgoers or other inexperienced viewers.

Parents, Children, and Television

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:20:16 PDT

This essay, like many others, is concerned with the effects of television on children, but what is different is the consideration of the role of parent within child-medium interaction. Paul Messaris deals with some intriguing issues such as the role of television in shaping our perceptions of reality and the role of parents in shaping our perceptions of television reality. Think of your early childhood experiences with this medium. How did you learn to distinguish the make-believe from the real, the commercial from the program, the drama from the news? Can you remember at what age? Are you still sometimes unsure? Did your parents use television characters and situations to teach you about the "real" world? Professor Messaris tells us the answers given by mothers to these and similar questions.

Starting and Sustaining an Open Access Journal

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:00:00 PDT

John Willinsky, educator, activist, and Khosla Family Professor on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Education has been an innovator in open access publishing platforms. He founded the Public Knowledge Project in 1998 for the purpose of improving the scholarly and public quality of research. Willinsky is an expert in open and sustainable publishing models, and will lead this conversation. If you are a journal editor, considering starting a new journal, or looking for options in sustainable publishing models, please joins us for this special opportunity.

Why (and What) We Need to Teach about Intellectual Property in High Schools and Colleges

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:00:00 PDT

Visiting scholar, John Willinsky, educator, activist, and Khosla Family Professor on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Education will lead this conversation on developing student understanding of intellectual property as a critical element in a liberal arts education. If you are interested in learning more or have your own ideas that you would like to share, please join us for this unique opportunity.

Insurance against Extreme Events: Pairing Short-Term Incentives with Long-Term Strategies

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:11:34 PDT

Consumers tend to purchase too little insurance or purchase it too late. Consequently, taxpayers wind up bearing substantial burdens for paying reconstruction costs from extreme events. The 2005 and 2012 hurricane seasons alone cost taxpayers nearly $150 billion. There is much that can be done to better facilitate the role that insurance can play in addressing losses from extreme events, both natural and man-made.

Nomads in a Wider Society

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:52:10 PDT

Nomadism is found mostly in marginal areas which support only relatively sparse populations, particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia. It is a traditional form of society that allows the mobility and flexibility necessary for relatively even use of vegetation over large areas of low quality rangeland. It also facilitates more social interaction than would be possible among people living in small scattered settlements. Since nomads cope successfully with both social and ecological problems in areas where other people don't want to live, their way of life deserves careful attention. Nomadism involves ways of thinking about space and people which may be important for successful economic development in marginal areas.

Pakistan Studies in the Age of Globalization

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:52:05 PDT

Over the past decade it has gradually become apparent that we are living in an age that is characterized by globalization. There is no single accepted definition of this process, although the word has been in our vocabulary for forty years. Our initial efforts to make sense of it have understandably focused so far on economic and political consequences. These are the most conspicuous, but the long-term significance is deeper and more comprehensive. Globalization has been building for several decades, and may have been inevitable. It is already palpable in relatively conservative sectors of our lives, such as the academic curriculum, and our formulation of research problems. It affects the year-to-year planning of institutions like AIPS, because of changes in the priorities of funding agencies, as well as individual academic careers. Unlike other types of social and cultural change over the past generation, globalization (as the term itself implies) is essentially global, and is therefore as visible in the national culture of countries like Pakistan as much as any in OECD. Pakistan Studies is a form of cultural and intellectual dialogue between the West and Pakistan. This dialogue when it began was bilateral. In the age of globalization it has been subsumed into the larger global dialogue. What are the implications of this change?

Population, Resources, and Technology: A Colloquium in General Anthropology

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:51:59 PDT

This is a summary of Population, Resources, and Technology: A Colloquium in General Anthropology, an academic conference which took place on March 11-14, 1970 in Philadelphia.

Towards a Generative Model of Nomadism

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:55:04 PDT

The anthropological study of nomadism should be approached via cultural ecology and by the generative method. A preliminary generative model is presented, consisting of a series of seven rules. The first five are derived from the literature and are concerned with group formation. The last two are proposed by the writer with a view to making the articulation between group formation, social ecology and social organisation.

Humanize Ecology!

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:55:01 PDT

Few would dispute the assertion that research into the problems of arid lands should have a firm ecological base. But "ecological" in practice is given different meanings in different programs. Though derived from the Greek oikos, which meant "dwelling" and extended to mean "environment," it was coined a hundred years ago to denote a new focus of interest in the natural sciences. This usage is understandable, now we recognize that most scientific endeavour has been conducted within an anthropocentric paradigm which militates against attention to human activity as an equal component of ecosystems.

Review of R.B. Thomas, Human Adaptation to a High Andean Energy Flow System

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:54:57 PDT

This is a review of R.B. Thomas' Human Adaptation to a High Andean Energy Flow System (1973).

Review of Geoffrey Blainey, Triumph of the Nomads, A History of Aboriginal Australia

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:54:54 PDT

This is a review of Geoffrey Blainey's Triumph of the Nomads, a History of Aboriginal Australia (1976).

Afghan Wars, Oriental Carpets, and Globalization

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:28 PDT

The afghan war rugs on exhibit at the Penn Museum from April 30 to July 31, 2011, raise a number of interesting questions—about carpets, Afghanistan, and the way the world as a whole is changing. These rugs, which come in a variety of sizes and qualities, derive from a tradition of oriental carpet-weaving that began to attract the attention of Western rug collectors in the late 19th century. Unlike the classic museum pieces that were produced on vertical looms in the cities of western Asia for use in palaces and grand houses, war rugs came from horizontal looms in small tribal communities of Turkmen and Baloch in the areas of central Asia on either side of the northern border of Afghanistan—tribal communities that were incorporated into the Russian Empire in the 19th century.

Introduction to Cultural and Ecological Perspectives From the Turan Program, Iran

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:25 PDT

A zone of arid and semi-arid country stretches from the Atlantic through north­ern Africa and the Middle East into Central Asia and India. Besides the Sahara and the Arabian and Iranian deserts it includes vast areas which although not totally barren are subject to low and unreliable rainfall. They include parts of the Fertile Crescent where economies based on the domestication of grains and animals first developed in the Middle East, and they have contained the sites of significant human activity since the earliest times. But as a result their appear­ance and composition have changed, and they have recently become the subject of serious controversy on a global scale: ecologists see a long-term trend towards the final desertification of these lands, but although they can formulate technical management programs to stem or reverse the trend, the local populations cannot always be persuaded to implement them.

Afghan Carpets

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:22 PDT

In the history of international trade. Oriental carpets are something of an anomaly. Although other exotic crafts have found a market in the West, no other has been so successful for so long, and marked by such lack of communication between producer and consumer. In the most extreme situation a rug is woven by women in a nomadic encampment in central Asia. It is meant for domestic consumption as a primary item of furniture. However, when times are hard, as in the recent famine, the nomad takes it to a local bazaar center where it is sold for cash. Through resale it finds its way to an emporium in a major city. Along with many others it is then exported by an Oriental merchant to a dealer in the West. The carpet may then be subjected to certain treat­ments which would affect its colors or sheen, and so enhance its appeal to the Western consumer. The cultural criteria according to which the carpet was woven were entirely independent of those that influence its ultimate purchaser.

Cultural Anthropology in Iran: Beginnings and Prospects

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:19 PDT

Ethnographic interest in Iran has a long his­tory. It goes back to the first European travelers in the Middle Ages who took an intelligent inter­est in what they saw, as they moved through ( what were to them ) the culturally strange lands of the East to visit the courts of the potentates of the time. We have progressed a long way since then in the mutual understanding and interpretation of widely differing cultures, and the Middle East and Iran have also changed. But, for a variety of reasons (which are too complex to rehearse here ), professional anthropology has been slow to start in the Iranian cultural area, and the expertise of professional ethnographic description and anthro­pological analysis has scarcely begun to be applied to Iranian culture and society. To some extent this has been true of the Middle East in general, but anthropological interest in Iran is even more recent than interest in the Middle East as a whole. Until very recently, except in the special field of Iranian languages, Iran’ was treated academically as an appendage of the Arab Islamic world. (It is significant that many people outside academe do not realize that the Iranians are Indo-European. They know they are Muslims, and think of the whole Middle East as Semitic. In fact, of course, Iran has a separate cultural tradition, older than that of the Arabs, which though secondary to it in Islam, is an integral component of Islamic cul­ture.) The early references to Iran in works of anthropological orientation on the Middle East are by people who had not specialized in Iranian ethnography (e.g. Elisabeth E. Bacon, Carleton S. Coon, Raphael Patai.

Politics, Kinship, and Ecology in Southeast Persia

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:16 PDT

The Iranian plateau is an ideal area for investigating the relationship be? tween ecological and sociological factors because of its stark aridity, on the one hand, and its historical role as a meeting place of ethnic and cultural movements on the other. The part of the plateau which forms the southeast corner of Persia is particularly interesting from this point of view. Over an area of some 200,000 square kilometers the great majority of the population, which numbers about half a million and includes both peasants and nomads, call themselves Baluch. Most, but not all of them, speak a dialect of Baluchi as their native tongue, and practically all adults speak it as a lingua franca. However, their political and social organization shows important variations, and there are striking geographical variations in the country they inhabit. It is unusual to find such wide variations among people who consider themselves one society. This paper shows how the variations in political and social organization in the area may be related to variations in human ecology. I wish to demonstrate that in this area of Persia, where political leadership relies on an income from settled agriculture, there is a definite social differentiation into classes and cognatic values are given to kin relationships, whereas leadership which relies primarily on nomadic pastoralism works through a structure of agnatic kin relationships without class differentiation.

Development, "Culture," and the Promise of Modern Progress

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:10 PDT

This essay investigates the key tensions that arise within Jamaica's new cultural policy "Toward Jamaica the Cultural Superstate." The argument presented in the paper is that "culture" is a tricky and potentially dangerous site upon which to hinge national development goals, even though the expansion of cultural industries may well represent a viable and potentially lucrative strategy for economic development. This is because invariably, "culture" cannot do the work policy makers would like it to do, and its invocation within policy spheres usually already signals a kind of developmental distress, a perceived need for retooling through a form of social engineering. In other words, "culture" (in the anthropological sense) reflects and shapes, yet cannot in and of itself solve the most pressing challenges facing Jamaica today.

The Problem With Violence: Exceptionality and Sovereignty in the New World

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:27:07 PDT

For many observers, the violent and often spectacular crime that takes place in particular Caribbean areas is evidence of a failure to create a growth-oriented economy and morally progressive ethos. It is a problem of culture, a mark of backwardness, an unsuccessful movement from savagery, or a failure to take advantage of post-World War II opportunities for development in political, economic, and socio-cultural fields. At the very least, it is something that marks the eScholarship provides open access, scholarly publishing services to the University of California and delivers a dynamic research platform to scholars worldwide. Caribbean—as well as some spaces within Latin America—as seeming to have taken a different path in relation to other New World trajectories. This article uses the case of Jamaica—itself often portrayed as exceptional within the region—to think through how, when, and why the US is, on one hand and from one perspective, written out of these narratives and, on the other and from alternative vantage points, central to them. In doing so, Thomas emphasizes the long-standing transnational dimension of violence in the postcolonial Americas, situating the New World as a single sphere of experience, in order to say something about the relationships among violence, the exploitation and settlement of the New World, sovereignty, and the various phases of modern capitalism.