101-120 of 263 Results

Article

The Fauresmith and Cultural Dynamics at the End of the Southern African Earlier Stone Age  

Michael Chazan

The Fauresmith refers to a poorly defined archeological entity that is transitional between the Earlier and Middle Stone Age in southern Africa and that has tentatively also been identified in East Africa. Recent research on sites in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa supports the validity of the Fauresmith while indicating that there is considerable variation in the lithic assemblages. There are significant cultural developments associated with the Fauresmith, including a shift from a stone tool technology focused on large bifacial tools toward flake tools produced using prepared core techniques, the use of stone-tipped spears, and the use of places and objects, including ochre, associated with particular sensory properties. The chronological position of the Fauresmith is the subject of ongoing research but currently appears to be situated between 500,000 and 300,000 years ago. No hominin fossils have yet been recovered from a Fauresmith context. The Fauresmith is best understood within the context global patterns in the hominin and archeological record in the period during which Homo erectus was replaced by an increased diversification of hominins, including modern humans. It is also important to recognize that the Fauresmith raises major questions about the nature of archeological entities and the epistemological validity of these conceptual tools.

Article

Fire Use  

Silje Bentsen

Fire is one of the oldest technologies of humankind; indeed, the earliest signs of fire appeared almost two million years ago. Traces of early fire use include charcoal, baked sediments, and burnt bone, but the archaeological evidence is ambiguous due to exposure to the elements for hundreds of thousands of years. Thus the origin of fire use is debatable. The first fire users may have been occasional or opportunistic users, harvesting flames and heat-affected food from wildfires. The art of maintaining the fire developed, and eventually humans learned to make fire at will. Fire technology (pyrotechnology) then became a habitual part of life. Fire provided warmth and light, which allowed people to continue activities after dark and facilitated moving into colder climates. Cooking food over or in the fire improved digestibility; over time, humans developed a culinary technology based on fire that included the use of cooking pits or earth ovens and preservation techniques such as smoking the food. Fire could even help in the procurement of food—for example, in clearing vegetation for easier hunting, to increase the fertility of the land, and to promote the growth of certain plants or to trap animals. Many materials could be transformed through fire, such as the color of ochre for use in pigments or the knapping properties of rocks for production of stone tools. Pyrotechnology ultimately became integral to other technologies, such as the production of pottery and iron tools. Fire use also has a social component. Initially, fires for cooking and light provided a natural meeting point for people to conduct different activities, thus facilitating communication and the formation of strong social relationships. The social organization of a campsite can sometimes be interpreted from the artifact types found around a fire or in how different fires were placed. For example, access to household fires was likely restricted to certain family members, whereas communal fires allowed access for all group members. There would have been conventions governing the activities that were allowed by a household fire or a communal fire and the placement of different fire types. Furthermore, the social uses of fire included ritual and ceremonial uses, such as cleansing rituals or cremation. The fire use of a prehistoric group can, consequently, reveal information on aspects such as subsistence, social organization, and technology.

Article

The First Emergence of Ceramic Production in Africa  

Eric Huysecom

The discoveries at Ounjougou (Mali), an open-air site in the Dogon Country, shed new light on the “early Neolithic” in Africa. The stratigraphic sequence and a cluster of absolute dates established a terminus ante quem of 9400 cal bc for ceramic sherds associated with a small bifacial lithic industry. The emergence of this typo-technical complex corresponds to one of the wet phases of the Pleistocene–Holocene transition in West Africa, most probably that of the climatic upturn at the beginning of the Holocene, between 10,200 and 9,400 cal bc. Paleoenvironmental results, particularly archaeobotanical ones, indicate that the landscape was in a state of change and that, for several millennia, the surfaces covered by desert overlapped an open steppe with grasses, some of which were edible. This environmental situation allowed the dispersion of prehistoric groups over the continent and probably encouraged a new behavior: the practice of intensive selective gathering (i.e., the targeted and rational harvesting of wild grasses for their seeds). However, not only must seeds be kept dry and protected from rodents, they must also be processed through cooking or fermentation. This process helps the human body to assimilate the starch, as the digestive enzymes necessary for its digestion are not naturally present. Ceramics would have been particularly useful in this process. Ceramics emerged in sub-Saharan Africa and seem to have spread toward the central Sahara during the early Holocene at the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 9th millennium cal bc, while the desert zone became increasingly greener. It has yet to be understood whether the Nile Valley was an important corridor for the diffusion of this technology or if ceramics appeared as the result of a second independent process of innovation.

Article

Fishing  

Fiona McCormack and Jacinta Forde

The anthropology of fisheries is a core focus of maritime anthropology. Scholarship in this field is multifaceted, exploring fishing ways of life, fishing knowledge, marine tenures and economies, the gendered nature of fishing, how people cope with danger and risk, and the specificities of how this particular watery nature is manifested in social, political, and cultural systems. Fishing can be defined as a productive activity that takes place in a multidimensional space, depending more on natural or wild processes than manufactured processes. The idea of fishing being closer to nature is an analytical thread, giving the anthropology of fisheries a particular edge on the multispecies and more than human ethnographic turn in contemporary anthropology. Research in fisheries anthropology has long held the connections between fisher and fish to be of central concern. Significant too, however, is the thesis that the construction of commodity fisheries as a natural domain, of which fishers are atomistic extractors to be managed, is a highly politicized process involving the bioeconomic creation of fish stock and broader political economies. Anthropological research on fisheries engages critically with neoliberalizations, the extension of privatizations, and the proliferation of industrial aquaculture, thus challenging Blue Economy attempts to reconfigure nature–culture relationships and reposition the marine environment as a locus for the enactment and perpetuation of inequality.

Article

Food Consumption and Power: Nourishment and Identity  

Carla Guerrón Montero and Joan Gross

All humans need food to stay alive, but food is also a complex social fact. As such, it is central to how people’s individual and collective identities are constructed and how others see us. Food is also associated in multiple ways with production and consumption processes; consumers influence these processes, whether they are motivated primarily by nourishment or by identity. Anthropology has been concerned with the study of food through different angles in connection with nourishment and identity, including the “classic” approaches (food taboos, gifts, and commodities, recurring commensality, food as material culture, hunger, food insecurity), while also taking new directions (the senses, culinary and food tourism, the nutrition transition, food sovereignty, food activism). Food consumption is embedded in webs of power that constrain food’s physical and social meanings. Food is nestled in systems of racism, sexism, and colonialism, resulting in embodied trauma. Yet, food also lies at the heart of reciprocity. Sharing food brings people together in their struggle for connection and agency. Whether we focus on physical nourishment or identity construction, food consumption is never separate from power. Anthropology provides an effective way to study these complexities. The broad range of anthropological approaches allows for a deep understanding of food consumption’s complexities and power inequalities. Whether the question is approached from a physical nourishment angle or that of social identities, anthropological research has shown how the two cannot be divided. Similarly, anthropologists have taken a broad view of consumption, noting how recurrent commensality constructs the deep relationships that form the basis of human society. They have also shown the critical role that consumption plays in food production, distribution, and preparation. Robust critiques of the global food system have emerged from this work. They have led many anthropologists to work side by side with people attempting to improve their food systems to be more localized, nutritious, and fair.

Article

Food Sovereignty  

M.P. Pimbert and Priscilla Claeys

“Food sovereignty” is an alternative paradigm for food and agriculture that aims to guarantee and protect people’s space, ability, and right to define their own models of production, distribution, and consumption. It is a response to the deep social, economic, and environmental crises generated by the dominant model of food and agriculture in capitalist, communist, and socialist states. Confronted with hunger, food insecurity, massive de-peasantization, and the commodification of food through the neoliberal transformation of food systems, the food sovereignty movement seeks to reverse inequitable and ecologically destructive industrial farming, fisheries, forestry, and livestock management and to rebuild the social, economic, cultural, political, and spiritual foundations of our agri-food systems. Deeply transformative in its vision and practice, the food sovereignty movement affirms that food is a basic human right—as opposed to a commodity—and should be regarded as an integral part of culture, heritage, and cosmovision. This implies that food providers and consumers should be directly and meaningfully involved in framing policies for food and agriculture. The notion of food sovereignty is perhaps best understood as a transformative process that seeks to re-create the democratic realm and regenerate a diversity of relocalized and autonomous agri-food systems. Food system transformation is grounded in agroecological practices based on diversity, decentralization, democracy, and local adaptation within and between territories, with a view to build ecological sustainability and keep life within safe planetary limits. Food sovereignty cannot be achieved without gender and intersectional justice, equity, and economies of care, as it ultimately seeks to achieve peaceful coexistence among peoples and care for the earth. The concept of food sovereignty has rapidly moved from the margins to more center stage in international discussions on food, environment, development, and well-being. Since it was first proposed by the transnational agrarian movement La Via Campesina in 1996, food sovereignty has become a policy framework adopted by some governments and international organizations. In response to advocacy campaigns by peasant organizations and social movements, the United Nations has recently adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), which recognizes new human rights to land, water, forests, seeds, and natural resources, and outlines states obligations with regard to human rights–based natural resources governance. The UNDROP itself recognizes food sovereignty as a collective right. As the food sovereignty paradigm is gaining traction, the global food sovereignty movement, best described as a movement of movements, is diversifying. Peasant farmers, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, nongovernmental organizations, and scholar-activists working on food sovereignty are engaging in dialogues with other social actors. The global food sovereignty movement is calling for the convergence of all antisystemic and anticapitalist movements, including climate and labor justice movements, feminist movements, black movements, degrowth economics, and antiwar movements. Food sovereignty as a concept, as a right, and as a paradigm for food systems transformation is a valuable starting point for the formulation of joint proposals and actions for systemic change in this emerging confluence of movements. Food sovereignty is also an increasingly popular research topic for a wide range of academic disciplines, including anthropology, geography, history, law, philosophy, agronomy, and ecology, as well as transdisciplinary research on agri-food systems. Historical, decolonial, feminist, cross-cultural, transdisciplinary, and critical perspectives are all needed to further understand the origins, development, and politics of food sovereignty in different contexts. Place-based and nuanced explorations of the multilevel processes that enable and constrain systemic change for food sovereignty can help inform policy and practice in different settings. These are important future directions for research on food sovereignty.

Article

Forced Migration  

Snezana Stankovic, Jonas Ecke, and Elizabeth Wirtz

Forced migration refers to the forcibly induced movement of people, for example, when migrants are forced to flee to escape conflict or persecution or become trafficked. The definition also encompasses situations of enforced immobility, for example, when displaced people are confined to refugee camps and detention centers. Forced displacement may occur within or across the borders of the nation-state. According to this definition, the effect of the force causing the migratory movement is crucial, and distinguishes forced migrants—who may be termed “refugee,” “trafficked person,” “stateless person,” “asylum seeker,” or “internally displaced persons” (IDPs)—from other migrants such as economic migrants. However, as anthropologists of forced migration illustrate, such distinctions by legal, state, or international organizations are not always relevant outside of institutional logics; when backed up by the force of the state, they can undermine the livelihoods and safety of migrants. The anthropology of forced migration is undertaken by researchers who aim to depict and capture the realities of forced migrants, and to understand the world from the perspective of the forced migrants themselves. The anthropology of forced migration also addresses the historical context that drives the displacement as well as how forced migrants interact with their cultural, social, religious, and economic environments, and how doing so compels cultural change. By virtue of their influence in the lives of forced migrants, anthropologists of forced migration must incorporate the terminologies and classifications of international organizations and states into their analyses, since these terminologies and classifications have tangible effects on the lives of migrants. At the same time, anthropologists of forced migration interrogate these terminologies and classifications. In so doing, they prioritize the perspectives and realities of the forced migrants over external classifications and definitions. Consequently, the anthropology of forced migration is distinguished from other disciplines that also explore forced migration such as international law and some studies in the field of refugee studies and (forced) migration studies. On a theoretical level, an analysis that centers on the experiences, perspectives, and realities of forced migrants enables novel insights into societal processes such as austerity policies, the role of borders in society and the global system, and the work of humanitarian organizations. These policies, societal dynamics, and institutions have tangible and deep effects on the lives of forced migrants. How forced migrants interact with external systems and institutions has raised vital questions on dependency and agency, which anthropologists of forced migration have discussed in their works. Many anthropologists of forced migration also aim to be helpful in improving programs for forced migrants by conveying the perspectives and experiences of forced migrants to policymakers so that such programs are more relevant to the realities of forced migrants. Anthropologists of forced migration have also used art installations and films to convey the experience of forced migration.

Article

Framing Migration  

Judith Freidenberg

The physical movement of a human being from his or her place of birth to another locality, a process that occurs over time as well as space, is usually known as migration. Together with fertility and mortality, migration helps track population changes. Migration also helps capture the political mood of a country, as migrants are perceived as either as threats or welcome additions. Anthropologists tend to think about migration from the perspective of two paradigms: immigration and mobility. For the immigration paradigm, human movement is an exceptional occurrence; for the mobility paradigm, human movement is innate to the human condition and therefore constant. Neither paradigm considers the migration experience as an interactive process that engages movers and nonmovers alike, which is the focus of a proposed third paradigm. The domains of research, practice, and policy reflect these framing paradigms, alone or in combination. By working on the interstices between these domains, anthropology could contribute to a transdisciplinary field of migration studies.

Article

Frontiers  

Aditi Saraf

The term “frontier” is generally taken to mean an area separating two countries, or a territorial limit beyond which lies wilderness. But frontier is also used symbolically to refer to the limit of knowledge and understanding of a particular area, as in “frontiers of science” or in the idea of outer space as the “final frontier.” A certain elasticity therefore inheres in the term. Scholarship on frontiers generally examines geographical and cultural “peripheries”—zones that are viewed both as political barriers and sites of contact and exchange. However, the frontier as an empirical object as well as a scholarly heuristic is intertwined with long and often violent histories of colonialism, imperialism, and resistance. Anthropological concepts of the frontier are developed in relation to neighboring terms such as border, boundary, and line and methodologies for its empirical investigation in relation to other social science disciplines like history, international relations, geography, and gender studies. Drawing on a multidisciplinary perspective, ethnographic research aims to destabilize conventional notions of the frontier as the limit of settlement or as a space of statelessness, anarchy, or disorder in order to attend to the diverse cultural and political institutions that produce distinctive ideas of sovereignty, mobility, commerce, and community in such spaces.

Article

Futures Research in Anticipatory Anthropology  

J.A. English-Lueck and Miriam Avery

Anticipatory anthropology can be variously seen as a mode of inquiry that occupies the space between the disciplines of applied anthropology and future studies. Philosophically, the anticipatory approach has deep roots in applied anthropology since the purpose of studying human experience is to improve the quality of human life in the future. Traditional anthropological approaches to data collection and analysis, however, have been much more focused on past life or present experiences. In the mid-20th century, anthropologists began to employ more explicit future orientations, paralleling efforts in other social sciences to make sense of the post-World War II milieu. Prominent anthropologist Margaret Mead was in the forefront of that effort. People engaged in cultural forecasting, thinking about human futures, resist making predictions. Prediction assumes that one cultural path will create the future, but anthropologists recognize human agency, and people’s ability to choose and make different futures. Academic or practicing anthropologists who actively consider future actions and consequences anticipate alternatives for various possible futures. These anthropologists map the implications of that flow logically or emotionally from observable practices. In the 1960s and 1970s, a cohort of scholars began to develop methodologies for exploring possible cultural futures. During the same period, an interdisciplinary endeavor, the emerging field of future studies, began to produce a body of literature, a series of conferences, and international organizations. While a minority were interested in the long-term survival of the species, most futures research was focused on near or midterm futures, ranging from five to thirty years into the future. Anthropologists made unique contributions to this larger body of future studies. Much of the literature generated in classic future studies was based on North American or European perspectives, often from an elite point of view. The logic of forecasting was largely quantitative and based on a set of assumptions that could be deeply culture bound. Anthropologists sought to decenter the presumption that the future could only be made by elite actors in developed and democratic nations. Anthropologists deliberately sought out non-elite people of diverse backgrounds, tapped into their imaginations, and delved into the choices they would make to shape the future. Research in anticipatory anthropology has been closely associated with the emerging field of user experience, as both sets of scholars seek to understand the consequences of technological change on ordinary people. Drawing on notions from cognitive anthropology, anthropologists who employed a futures orientation posited that individual cultural actors imagined different futures and acted to create or avoid those projections. If you asked people about the futures they hoped for and the futures they feared, they would reveal the underlying affective logic that shaped those visions. Much of the work in anticipatory anthropology has involved discerning the impacts of emerging technologies on social life. As interest in the anthropology of science and technology has grown, academic scholars and practitioners used the techniques of anticipatory anthropology to reveal both the intended and unintended consequences of technological use on social life. In particular, the interests of anticipatory anthropologists have converged with self-identified design anthropologists, since both look at present behaviors to imagine the future use of a service, product, architectural form, or landscape. In addition, the global social problems of environmental degradation and resource use, which so captivated the imaginations of futurists in the late 20th century, continue to be of concern. Sensitively documenting and forecasting the impacts of climate change, global disruption, automation, and biotechnologies on vulnerable populations comprised some of the emerging frontiers of anticipatory anthropology that will call to a new generation of scholars and practitioners.

Article

Gender in African Metallurgy  

Louise Iles

Gender is frequently invoked as a core explanatory factor for many aspects of past African metallurgy, including conceptualizations of the technological process by its practitioners, the organization of—and participation in—metallurgical production activity, and the acquisition of power and wealth that is associated with it. If a study of technology is to contribute to our understanding of the African past, an exploration of the socioeconomic framework of a production activity is as important as understanding the materiality of a technology; gender is an essential part of that framework. Ethnographies offer an unparalleled opportunity to consider concepts such as technological style, symbolic expression, and gender in relation to technological activity and materiality—structuring principles that can be of limited visibility in the archaeological record. It is through ethnographic and historical documentation that gender has been made highly and dramatically visible in African smelting and metalworking processes. A stark focus has tended to rest on the cosmologies of fertility and human reproduction that permeate many (though certainly not all) iron smelting technologies across the continent. Metal production is positioned as a form of social reproduction, enabling the continuation of cultural activity through technological production. Metaphors of transformation are reproduced through the design and decoration of technological artifacts, through taboos and prohibitions, and through the symbolic songs, words, and actions of the metal workers, and have been closely tied with narratives of female exclusion from (and conversely male access to) metallurgical activities. Insights from the ethnographic and historical records of sub-Saharan Africa have been used to inform archaeological interpretations, both implicitly and explicitly, within and far beyond the continent. Yet the insights they provide need to be tempered by a critical evaluation of the ways in which such analogies are selected from a vast bank of historic and ethnographic data and how they can be most appropriately utilized. Importantly, the variability that is present within the ethnographic record cautions against the construction and promulgation of overgeneralizations, and strongly suggests that gender and gendered work roles within African metallurgy, past and present, are not yet fully understood.

Article

Genetically Modified Crops  

Glenn Davis Stone

In 1958, a Nobel laureate predicted that one day scientists would be able to use “biological engineering” to improve all species. Genetic modification of viruses and bacteria was performed in the early 1970s. Genetic modification of plants was announced in the early 1980s, followed by predictions of revolutionary improvements in agriculture. But nearly forty years later, the improvements brought by genetic modification are meager: few crops have been modified and 87 percent of all area planted to genetically modified (GM) crops contains traits for herbicide tolerance (HT), which increases use of herbicide but not productivity. The only other widely used modification, which causes plants to produce insecticide, has improved agriculture in some areas but not others. Debate on why genetic modification has fallen so short of expectations have centered on three factors. Public resistance to GM crops and foods is blamed for slow progress by some. Excessive regulation is cited by some, especially those involved in the development of GM crops. But the main factor has been patent regimes that concentrate the development of marketable GM crops in the hands of a small number of companies that hold large patent portfolios and that can afford to enforce the patents. New technologies for genetic modification such as CRISPR-Cas9 are being heralded as offering revolutionary change in agriculture, much as genetic modification was in the 1980s.

Article

Genetics and Domestic Fauna in Southern Africa  

K. Ann Horsburgh

Genetic analyses of southern African livestock have been limited and primarily focused on agricultural production rather than the reconstruction of prehistory. Attempts to sequence DNA preserved in archaeological remains of domestic stock have been hampered by the discovery of high error rates in the morphological identification of fauna. As such, much DNA sequencing effort that was directed at sequencing southern Africa’s domestic livestock has been expended sequencing wild forms. The few genetic data that are available from both modern and archaeological domestic stock show relatively low genetic diversity in maternally inherited mitochondrial lineages in both sheep and cattle. Analyses of modern stock show, in contrast, that the bi-parentally inherited nuclear genome is relatively diverse. This pattern is perhaps indicative of historic cross-breeding with stock introduced from outside Africa. Critically important to moving forward in our understanding of the prehistory of domesticates in southern Africa is attention to the high error rates in faunal analyses that have been documented both genetically and through ZooMS.

Article

Glass Beads in West Africa  

Abidemi Babatunde Babalola

The earliest glass beads in the archaeological record in West Africa dates to the 7th through 5th centuries bce, predating the Islamic trade in the region. By early 2nd millennium ce, the occurrence of glass beads had increased exponentially following the influx of goods and people. Thus, glass beads on the subcontinent are traced to outside sources. Compositional analysis has revealed that most glass beads in West Africa were made from soda-lime-silica glass fluxed with either mineral soda or plant ash. A group with soda-lime-alumina and another with high concentration of lead have also been identified. The origins of the glass beads of these compositional groups have been traced to the Middle East, Mesopotamia, the Levant, the Eastern Mediterranean, South Asia, and medieval Europe connecting West African to the global interactive system. Archaeological investigations since 2010 at Ile-Ife, Southwest Nigeria have revealed the existence of the first-known West African primary glassmaking workshop dated to early 2nd millennium ce. The workshop at Ile-Ife mass-produced glass beads and became a regional center supplying glass beads to the trade network. Three techniques of glass bead manufacture are common in West Africa: drawn, wound, and molded/powdered. While drawn and wound beads have early occurrence in West Africa, molded/powdered beads appeared later, popular from the 16th century. Morphologically, glass beads of all colors, shapes, size, and diaphaneity have been recovered from archaeological context. Glass beads are ubiquitous materials in West Africa. They are materiality of globalized world, insignias of power and status, indicators of West African ingenuity and creativity, and emblems of social, political, and religious complexity.

Article

Glass Beads of 7th to 17th-Century CE Sub-Saharan Africa  

Marilee Wood

The value of glass beads to archaeologists has increased dramatically in the 21st century thanks to the development and improvements of methods to analyze the chemical composition of the glass used to make them. In addition, the amount of data accumulated from glass analysis has grown to the point that it is often possible to trace the probable origins of various glasses based on elements and trace elements present in the sands or quartz pebbles and sometimes the fluxes used to make the glass. But glassmaking and beadmaking are usually two separate professions, and raw and recycled glass were frequently traded even continents away. Thus, knowledge of bead manufacturing techniques and where they were practiced is needed to help determine where the beads might have been made and how they were traded. Beads found in archaeological assemblages in sub-Saharan Africa between the 7th and 17th centuries ce were made of several glasses from different regions, including the Near East, the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and China. Sometimes, beads of the same glass type are found right across the continent (particularly in the early period, 7th–10th centuries); but usually, bead assemblages in West Africa are different from those on the eastern side of the continent, and the East Coast and southern Africa are seldom in sync. Southern Africa usually received beads from only one source in any given period, beginning in the 7th century with glass beads from Mesopotamia, then India, followed by beads made from Central Asian glass but an unknown region of production, and finally a return to India. Beads found on the eastern seaboard, from Kenya to Madagascar, came from diverse sources: beginning in the 7th century with beads from South Asia (probably Sri Lanka) and others from Mesopotamia (like those in the south). These were followed by beads from India along with a few from Egypt or the eastern Mediterranean. In the early 15th century, a scattering of beads from China appeared, possibly brought as gifts by the fleet of the Chinese admiral Zheng He. Then a century later, more Chinese beads are found, but they were probably brought by early European traders. West Africa began, like the other regions, with beads of glass from Mesopotamia, which were followed by similar beads, but they were made of glass produced in the Levant or Egypt. After the 11th century, the region received very small numbers of beads from India and ones made of glass from Central Asia, but the most interesting were beads made of glass that was produced in Ile Ife, Nigeria—the only known primary glass production center in sub-Saharan Africa.

Article

Global Health  

Emily Mendenhall and Svea Closser

Global health can be understood as part of a larger history of global cooperation that reflects and enacts uneven politics, power, and privilege on an unequal earth. Global health emerged in the early 21st century when the groundswell of money for HIV/AIDS transformed the field, and a global orientation, as opposed to one of international relations or modularity, took hold. It is rooted in a long history of wealthier countries intervening in poorer countries with the stated aim of improving health—often with other goals, including economic power or winning hearts and minds. This history has been told by historians of medicine, as well as anthropologists. The idea of “global health” references the fact that health problems are concentrated not only in poorer countries, but rather around the world in resource-constrained settings, including rural areas and those that have been systematically cut off from services. The infusion of money for HIV, largely from wealthy nations, including the United States, positioned decision-making in global power centers that reflected a holdover from previous epochs of international health and colonial medicine. As in earlier eras, the period of global health was one where the focus was often on short-term, measurable outcomes achieved through top-down programs that sidestepped government infrastructure and development. This lack of sustained attention and support for national governments’ ability to build sustainable, broad-based health systems underlines long-standing concerns around the utility of technical solutions for health problems when long-standing social and economic political and policy problems are overlooked.

Article

Global Healthcare Worker Migration  

Heidi Bludau

The global migration of healthcare workers is one of the most widely studied issues in healthcare worldwide. Fueled by a global shortage of healthcare workers, this movement is considered a crisis in health sector human resources. Over the past half century, the need for skilled healthcare workers has increased in wealthy countries, which have not been able to keep up training and retaining a sufficient labor force to fill their demands and, thus, have increasingly relied on foreign-trained healthcare workers. Migrants are motivated by push factors in their home countries and pull factors in receiving countries. While some countries are capitalizing on the global market demand to facilitate export of their workers, some poor countries who lose their skilled workers to more developed countries are concerned about “brain drain.” Private, for-profit recruitment firms are increasingly entering this market and shaping migration patterns. The general consensus of research in this field is that more work needs to be done globally to build the capacity for training healthcare workers, increase recruitment and retention of healthcare workers in their local regions, and manage the global movement of healthcare workers of their own accord.

Article

Global Human Rights  

Peter W. Van Arsdale

Global human rights, writ large, impact the entire human condition. They span cultural, social, economic, ecological, political, and civic realms. They pertain to how people are treated, protected, and respected. They are interrelated, interdependent, and of importance to all people, yet in actuality—as they play out—do not apply equally to all people. They have not been formulated by representatives of all societies, have not been accepted by members of all nation-states, and have not—in any sense of an entirety or set—been formally approved by many important transnational rights-oriented organizations. However, as commonalities are considered in the way rights emerge and evolve, there are many. Certain principles are foundational. The processes are as essential as the products. The aspirations are as important as the achievements. The subject of human rights can be addressed from many angles. Some authorities suggest that philosophy provides the overarching umbrella, dating from the era of John Locke (b. 1632, d. 1704). From one perspective of history, which features emergent religious interpretations, duties and obligations that are situated in various diverse cultural traditions are central. From another perspective of history, which features seminal events such as wars and genocides, the actions and reactions of various actors—from victims to warriors—become central. From the perspective of law, covenants and protocols designed to advise, protect, and aid prosecution emerge prominently. From the perspective of political science, the ways in which citizens engage the political process as rights and wrongs are debated is key. Other disciplines, from psychology to theology to journalism, also contribute significantly. By way of contrast, cultural or social anthropology takes an ethnographic perspective. The cultural context is specified, with case-specific narratives often featured. Documentation of encounters (one-to-one, group-to-group, institution-to-institution) is crucial. Past, present, and potential future issues are addressed. The actions of victims, survivors, and perpetrators, as well as service providers, advocates, and everyday citizens, stand out. Field research, both theoretical and applied, is part and parcel of what anthropologists do. There is no single “theory of human rights.” However, there are a number of prominent paradigms, theories, and models that inform anthropological work in human rights. Of note are statist, cosmopolitan, and internationalist models, with the cosmopolitan of particular interest to anthropologists given its emphasis on individuals rather than states. Viewed differently, from the perspective of power and its abuses, the theory of structural violence is very useful. Case studies of perpetrators of abuse are usually more difficult to develop than those for victims, yet are particularly illustrative of power differentials. Ultimately, improvements in the ways in which abuses are dealt with and the ways in which the human rights regime (i.e., the systematized body of discourse, norms, resources, and protocols) ultimately can change for the better for everyday citizens, are tied to processes of socialization, internalization, and obligation. Rights are not static, but rather, very dynamic.

Article

Global Teams  

Julia C. Gluesing

Global teams have become a basic building block for organizing work that crosses geographic boundaries. They are an alternative to more traditional forms of hierarchy-based organizing and form the foundation of what is becoming known as the global networked organization. Global teams connect people who are geographically dispersed and work together on specific projects or tasks, crossing national, cultural, organizational, and linguistic boundaries. While global teams hold promise for organizing global work, they face conditions of complexity: (1) a multiplicity of different cultural contexts, governmental requirements, and multiple diverse stakeholders; (2) interdependence brought about by global flows of capital, information, and value chains; and, (3) ambiguity of meanings despite the fact that there is plenty of information. Management scholars have conducted most of the research about global teams from 1990 to 2018. These studies have shed light on global teaming processes, including communication and collaboration, facilitation and brokerage, leadership, language and identity, shared meaning, trust, power, national and organizational culture, distance, time, and technology. Some of the factors shown to improve global team effectiveness are as follows: a clear mission and objectives, explicit expectations for members’ roles and responsibilities, facilitating relationships among team members that leads to shared knowledge and a team identity, managing cultural, language and other contextual challenges, and monitoring and managing changing environmental conditions. While knowledge has grown about how global teams function, there is still much to learn about the complexity of multilevel cultural interactions in global teams and how different influence factors interact to affect performance. In-depth, longitudinal studies by anthropologists can provide such insights. The role of anthropologists is to assist the development of global teams by bringing nuance to the ways culture manifests in team member interactions and how social relationships are enacted and understood. Anthropologists can help build a richer understanding of contextual influences and the perceptions embedded in culture that shape sense-making across multiple contexts.

Article

Hafting Technology in the Stone Age of Southern Africa  

Margaret-Ashley Veall

Composite, multi-component tool technologies held together by means of a join (or haft) have a well-established record within southern Africa, temporally spanning the region’s Middle Stone Age through the Later Stone Age to historic and ethnographic narratives. The use of hafting adhesives, the glue of composite technologies, is a similarly well-established phenomenon, ensuring that users can create reliable, maintainable tools. The main organic components of these malleable technologies are sourced from plant exudates, including resins, gums, and latexes derived from several plant families, alongside animal fats, waxes, and inorganic minerals. Hafting adhesive finds within southern Africa’s archaeological record broadly fit into three categories: complete or relatively complete hafted implements, trace on inserts, and lumps of material. The frequency and location of these largely organic artefacts are invariably associated with differential preservation and regions where significant archaeological surveys have been conducted since the 1960s. Compositional information of hafting adhesives, however, comes from disparate sources: a handful of archaeometric studies on chemical composition from Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age contexts as well as historic and ethnographic observations. Ethnographic accounts have provided models in the complexity of adhesive manufacture and ingredient acquisition, while archaeological case studies in chemical composition of adhesives emphasize differences in adhesive production and the use of resources that are wholly absent from the records of the last two centuries. Despite these discrepancies, research demonstrates that these components of composite tools remain high-value commodities in their own right and more than a step in the chaîne opératoire of a composite implement.