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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Muslims possessed : spirit possession and Islam in Cairo

Kontarakis, C. January 2015 (has links)
In Cairo, infidel spirits called jinns threaten to possess Muslims with weak souls, a weakness that is deemed to be closely connected with lack of faith and morality. An informal group of Muslims called sheikhs exorcise the invading spirits, and in doing so help to constitute the discursive logic underlying spirit possession in Cairo. Through a ritual that asserts the centrality and supremacy of God, the sheikhs reinstate God’s presence by reciting the Qur’an in order to exorcise the jinns out of the Muslims’ bodies. Based on the findings of a fifteen month fieldwork research in Cairo (2007-2008), this thesis focuses on the ritual of the Qur’anic exorcism, along with the cosmology and the discursive logic that surrounds it, as this is expressed by the agents involved in it: the exorcists, the possessing spirits and the Muslims possessed, all forming a particular spirit possession complex that dwells in Islamic grounds and evolves at a certain socio-historical moment, being part of the broader cultural process of what is called “Islamic Revival”. By offering a perspective on anthropological debates about Islamic pluralism, the thesis argues that the Islamic ritual of exorcism escapes binary classifications inspired by the Gellnerian interpretative tropes, and reveals the ability of Islam to express itself poetically and in plural ways while at the same time constituting its monism through an underlying metaphysics concerned with establishing God as both centre and border of Islamic practice and cosmology. Taking ritual as an expression of the broader social and cultural orders within which it is embedded, the thesis shows that the Islamic exorcism in Cairo is in crucial ways homologous with the social and moral order of the world in which the Cairenes live, a moral order that is to be understood in relation to the “Islamic Revival” as an ethical project.

Productive dilemmas : assistance and struggle in a Nicaraguan agricultural cooperative

Cooper, D. T. W. January 2015 (has links)
Based on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this thesis is an ethnography of Gualiqueme, a village in the northern mountains of Nicaragua which was established by the Sandinistas as an agricultural cooperative in the 1980s. It explores the way rural Nicaraguan understandings of efficacy have informed and inflected their involvements with the cooperative, the Sandinista state, and each other. For Gualiqueme residents the prospect of productivity and efficacy revolves around a crucial dilemma. On the one hand effective action is viewed as grounded in an embodied personal struggle (lucha). On the other, relevant powers are taken to be distant and external, and viable action is understood to be contingent upon cultivating vital relations of assistance; with God and the saints, with the president and politicians, with the powerful outsiders staffing NGOs. The effort to mediate this duality of assistance and struggle across a range of domains is shown to comprise a central concern for Gualiqueme residents. It runs through the local production of historical knowledge, the negotiation of household relations, through efforts to establish entitlements to land, participation in state and NGO welfare projects, and the differing forms of popular religion. Developing this argument allows the thesis to present a novel perspective on the distributive politics characteristic of ‘New Left’ governments in Latin America, going beyond standard models of populism or clientelism. Gualiqueme residents are keen supporters of Daniel Ortega’s incumbent administration, and becoming a beneficiary of state welfare projects has come to hold a central place in rural political imaginaries. The thesis shows that understanding the appeal of these ‘assistentialist’ political forms for Gualiqueme residents requires framing them in relation to the diverse ways in which dilemmas of efficacy are handled in rural Nicaraguan life.

In search of sustainable materials : negotiating materiality and morality in the UK materials industry

Wilkes, S. E. January 2014 (has links)
This thesis is an ethnography of the materials scientists, engineers and designers who make up the membership of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), a professional body representing the UK materials industry. This piece of research explores the dynamic and relational process whereby materials such as steel, copper and PVC come to be seen as sustainable. It investigates the role that people, institutions, tools for knowledge production and transfer, and manufacturing processes play in this classificatory process. This work contributes to a reappraisal of sustainability theory by drawing on concepts of vital and dialectical materialism to argue that materials themselves impinge on peoples’ understandings of sustainability; materials, makers and their moral landscapes are mutually constituted. The first part of the thesis follows the sustainability discourses of my research participants. Their many different interpretations of what counts as a sustainable material offer an opportunity to compare the anxieties and priorities of the different communities that make up the UK materials industry, and the contradictions and tensions inherent in the concept of sustainability. The second part of the thesis explores various tools and techniques that people use to govern materials and make them fit with ideas of sustainability. Materials producers make changes to the physical make-up of materials, to their spatial and temporal flow, to manufacturing and auditing processes, to their institutional organisations and to themselves in attempts to be perceived as sustainable. The third part explores the ways in which materials resist or enable these human efforts. It argues that producers’ understandings of sustainability are affected by the affordances of the materials they deal with on a daily basis. As a result, ethics is not a solely human affair. The particular ethical sensibilities of materials producers and users are constituted through the process of making and using specific materials.

The evolutionary ecology of health-related behaviours

Uggla, C. E. January 2015 (has links)
This thesis explores variation in health-related behaviours from the perspective of evolutionary life history theory (LHT). LHT conceptualises behaviour as the allocation of energy to alternative functions and predicts that allocations will maximise genetic fitness. Past literature on health-related behaviours has suffered from methodological limitations, including a failure to simultaneously consider, and thus differentiate, multiple determinants, explicit consideration of how ecological effects vary between individuals and the use of extrinsic mortality rates. The present analyses overcome these shortcomings, utilising sociodemographic surveys from both low and high-mortality contexts. A series of key LHT hypotheses regarding the effects of e.g. local mortality rates, sex ratios, and maternal and child reproductive value are tested. In Section I, analyses of Northern Irish Census data demonstrate that higher mating effort relative to parenting effort is predictive of higher risk of preventable death (implying lower health effort) among men, and that parenting effort is associated with lower risk of preventable death, with larger effects among women. Over and above individual characteristics, ecological factors (extrinsic mortality rate, crime, adult sex ratio) are associated with preventable death, particularly among men, young individuals and those with low socioeconomic position (SEP), and with earlier reproduction in both sexes. In Section II, data from sub-Saharan Africa are used to test whether health behaviours closely linked to child survival are predicted by the reproductive value of the mother and the child. Maternal age positively predicts investment across all health investment outcomes, and birth order is strongly and negatively associated with investment. Maternal age and birth order effects were largely consistent across countries but several effects varied depending on whether the health behaviour was preventative or curative. Findings are generally consistent with LH predictions, and suggest that the LH framework holds much potential beyond its typical focus on traits characterising reproductive behaviour.

Sexual dimorphism, growth and development beyond dental maturity in the cranium of extant hominoid primates

Balolia, K. L. January 2015 (has links)
Sexual size dimorphism is a useful predictor of sociality in primates based on the association between male intrasexual competition and male size, relative to female size. Less considered ideas include the relationship between sexual dimorphism of facial traits and socioecological variability and the notion that females may obtain reproductive advantages from larger body size or facial morphology, similar to what is observed in males. In the present research, I investigate the morphological correlates of social and non-social variables to understand whether the facial skeleton, including the sagittal crest, carries a social signal. I adopt the heterochronic framework advocated by Shea (1986) to understand how sexual dimorphism is attained. I examine craniofacial size and shape dimorphism, growth and development in five extant hominoid primate taxa (<i>Homo sapiens</i>, <i>Pan t. schweinfurthii</i>, <i>Gorilla g. gorilla</i>, <i>Pongo p. pygmaeus</i> and <i>Hylobates lar</i>) to understand whether sex-specific patterns of facial dimorphism, growth and development are associated with social and life history variables. I use 3D surface data to quantify cranial size and shape using 3D co-ordinate landmarks, surface area data and linear measurements. Geometric morphometric techniques are used to calculate size and shape variables, including Procrustes distances between male and female average shapes, and visualisation of shape differences using Principal component scores. Marital system explains a small, but significant, amount of craniofacial size and shape variation in modern humans, and patterns of shape dimorphism in the brow ridge of <i>Pan t. schweinfurthii</i> and <i>Gorilla g. gorilla</i>, and in the mid-face of <i>Gorilla g. gorilla</i> and <i>Pongo p. pygmaeus</i>, indicate that sex-specific shape of these regions may be morphologically conserved. Sagittal crest emergence in <i>Gorilla g. gorilla</i> and <i>Pongo p. pygmaeus</i> males cannot be explained by mastication alone and is likely to be, in part, a result of sexual selection. Future studies, adopting a heterochronic approach to sexual dimorphism, are likely to afford detailed inferences about the relationship between morphological and behavioural variables and may have applications in reconstructing extinct hominoid social behaviour.

Heritage matters : understanding value in crisis Syria

Shackelford, J. January 2015 (has links)
This thesis explores the production and consumption of material cultural heritage in contemporary Syria, both prior to and during the uprising that began in March 2011. Guided by a material culture perspective, this research pays particular attention to the network of relationships between people and things, and how these relationships illuminate larger social cosmologies. Through field research conducted in Syria, it has become evident that in times of economic and/or political crisis dramatic changes occur regarding what heritage means and why it matters. Prior to the crisis, a general modern humanist conception of preservation and conservation of the material landscape prevailed in Syria. However, during the crisis, general moral values have been in a constant state of flux, and heritage objects have become opportunistically exploited symbolically and economically in ways that paradoxically both enhance and physically endanger the value of the objects in question. This issue is one that goes to the heart of UNESCO’s World Heritage mission, which began in reaction to the enormous amount of plunder and destruction during the Second World War. It’s not that heritage really stops mattering; rather, it simply starts mattering in a different way. I argue that, in crisis Syria, what heritage does is confer a perceived greatness in the past, symbolized through its material remains, unto whatever group is able to assert physical and/or discursive authority over heritage objects in the present. This, in turn, reinforces that group’s authority and grounds it, literally, in the material world. Thus, as social control breaks down, heritage objects and sites become primary nodes of contestation, which both increases their value and makes them more susceptible to exploitation and destruction.

Ontogeny, phylogeny and functional morphology of the hominoid shoulder girdle

Barros, A. P. January 2014 (has links)
The shoulder is of particular relevance for resolving issues of locomotor ancestry since, as a group, living hominoids can be defined by the set of functional similarities that they share at this anatomical area (such as a scapula located on the back of the ribcage, and a shoulder joint adapted to allow extensive abduction). However, there is ongoing debate over which selective pressures are responsible for these shared morphologies. The current study addresses the question of whether the similarities in this anatomical structure in hominoids are a product of common ancestry (homology) or rather the product of parallelism (homoplasy) from an ontogenetic and phylogenetic perspectives. To this end, 30 measurements were collected on the clavicle, scapula and humerus of six hominoid species (Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Gorilla gorilla, Pongo pygmaeus and Hylobates lar) and one macaque species (Macaca fascicularis); information on the dental development of each individual specimen was collected for the purpose of creating an ontogenetic sample for each species; all measurements were collected on surface scans of individual bones and analysed in a 3D environment (Geomagic Suite 12.1 and Amira 3.1), and all statistical analyses (ontogenetic, phylogenetic as well as within- and between-species differences) were conducted using R version 2.12.2 (R Core Team 2011). Overall my results provide a more detailed understanding of ontogenetic change in shoulder morphology across hominoid species, and demonstrate (1) a relative lack of phenotypic plasticity in other key traits (such as the proximal curvature of the clavicle and glenoid-axillary angle of the scapula), and (2) high levels of plasticity in key diagnostic traits of hominoid shoulder morphology in humeral torsion, the distal curvature of the clavicle, and the orientation of the scapular spine and glenoid fossa (all correlated with each other). However these seem to operate within phylogenetic constraints and to be modulated by the underlying anatomy of the thorax and shoulder girdle. Overall my results support the notion of an arboreal origin to the ape lineages and parallel evolution of quadrupedalism in the great apes.

Refracted truths : mediating constructions of identity through the illness and healing experience of homeless Native American men along the Wasatch Front, Utah

Stolfi, D. January 2015 (has links)
The thesis investigates how homeless Native American men in Salt Lake City, Utah navigate their experience of homelessness, as well as the social suffering it gives rise to, in order to affirm a sense of personhood and personal identity. It examines how this experience is constructed, presented, and mediated through a series of ambivalent spatial and agentic practices that contribute to shaping a contemporary and localized expression of Native American masculine identity. The thesis argues that, for Native Americans, the notions of personhood and identity are deeply rooted in a culturally and spiritually embodied sense of place. When this bond with place is ruptured, it not only complicates our understanding of indigenous homelessness, but the possibility for homeless Native American individuals of living fulfilling lives is fundamentally compromised and can lead to severe and debilitating forms of suffering that are difficult for us to comprehend. Their experience of homelessness also underlines the difficulties many of these individuals encounter in trying to reclaim a meaningful sense of self in order to lead ‘good’ lives. Unfortunately, it also reminds us in many cases of their failure to do so. The thesis presents these themes as multiple representations and suggests that Native American homelessness constitutes a neglected narrative within the Native American identity and healthcare discourse. It also includes an investigation of the efforts to address this complex and problematic reality on the part of the independent agencies that work with homelessness in Salt Lake City and considers possible implications for future research, practice, and advocacy.

Encountering corporate responsibility : mining, development and conservation in south eastern Madagascar

Kraemer, Antonie Lysholm January 2012 (has links)
This thesis explores conflicts over natural resources through an ethnographic investigation of a multinational mineral mining project in Madagascar. The analysis focuses on how corporate environmental and social impacts are justified through new regimes of development and nature conservation programmes near extractive sites in developing countries. The thesis argues that such 'Corporate Social Responsibility' (CSR) programmes rely on new modes of social and environmental governance linking multinational resource extraction, community development and participatory nature conservation. These new governance forms entail new regimes of rights and responsibilities, which lead to an increase in the socio-environmental exclusion of already marginalised local people. The thesis shows how these new forms of exclusion stem from rights and benefits being channeled to deserving corporate 'stakeholders', and the differentiated capacity of local people to perform this role. Through multi-sited ethnography, the thesis investigates the rich social fields generated by CSR-based government of people and nature, focusing on new subjectivities and new types of social differentiation resulting from corporate land and resource capture and new benefit flows. I demonstrate how in south eastern Madagascar, the CSR programmes themselves also change in the encounter with a complex local history of struggles over control of the region's natural resources. I show the active efforts of 'translation' deployed by corporate staff in order to represent complex local encounters including forms of resistance to corporate resource access as success stories of corporate engagement and as justifications for corporate resource extraction. I conclude that corporate responsibility discourses and programmes must be accounted for not merely as neoliberal 'projects of rule' over people and nature, but also as a rich social arena where officially stated ideologies are constantly being reinvented and altered as they encounter specific actors in particular places. The thesis thereby contributes to debates about neoliberalism and its local effects, arguing for the need to critically account for both the historical continuity of powerful global ideologies which justify corporate land and resource access in Africa, and how these global projects are also changed, thwarted and reworked through specific local encounters.

The deep and the Erepecuru : tracing transgressions in an Amazonian Quilombola Territory

Frajtag Sauma, J. January 2014 (has links)
This is an ethnography of the Filhos do Erepecuru (henceforth Filhos), an African-American people who live on the Erepecuru river (Amazonian State of Pará, Brazil). This riverine population are self-identified Remanescentes de Quilombos (Quilombo Survivors), descendants of those who escaped from slavery on regional plantations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The thesis is concerned with exploring the conceptions and practices involved in the Filhos’ vida tranquila (peaceful life). In doing so, it also reflects on how ethnic formation approaches, which have dominated studies about peoples like the Filhos in the Americas, have become ethnographically inappropriate, following recent debates over the question of representation in anthropology. Instead, an ethnographic exploration of the Filhos’ ‘indigenous sociology’ is proposed, which can compare their conceptions and practices relative to sociality and those proposed by an ‘ethnicity’ led approach. It is also argued that the ‘engagements’ between sociological and cosmological dimensions, which persistently appear in the ethnography, constitute the Filhos’ collectivity, and must be included in our understanding of how they create a peaceful life. For this purpose, the thesis traces connections between the Filhos’ ‘landscape of arrival’ and their contemporary place-making, kinship and shamanic practices, as well as the reciprocally related practices of work and play, food acquisition and healing. This will provide a framework for understanding how the Filhos’ ‘territorial approach’ is an interdependent and persistently transformative phenomenon, which will be explored through recent socio-political developments in the final chapter. Focusing on the points of convergence between the Filhos’ sociopolitical and cosmopolitical landscapes, the overall aim is to provide a comparative perspective to questions that continue to inspire anthropological research: the relation between change and continuity, and collective process and individual action.

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