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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

Anthropology of Human Rights

Ambivalent resistance and public secrets: Contesting “the truth”
Ferenczi, Natasha-Kim. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2005. Section 0228, Part 0326 153 pages; [M.A. dissertation].Canada: Concordia University (Canada); 2005. Publication Number: AAT MR10198.
School: Concordia University (Canada)
School Location: Canada
Index terms(keywords): Maldives
Source: MAI 44/03, Jun 2006
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT MR10198
ISBN: 0494101989
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1037872291&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 1037872291

Abstract (Document Summary)
This thesis explores a youth cultural movement in Male’, the Capital Island and urban center of the Republic of the Maldives. I will focus on the dialectic between the strict social control over society enforced by penal tactics and the censorship of expression in a social context whereby the imagining potential of youths has broadened, as well as the social frameworks in which young people negotiate identity. I argue that increased education and exposure to alternate ideologies and lifestyles have led to a greater consciousness of human rights discourses and an increased desire to participate with the changes underway among many youths in Male’. The youthful innovations discussed reflect ideological struggles that challenge the government’s monopoly over information and dominant social representations. I will show the central role of exposure in these challenges to official “truth” and the possibilities opened up by wireless communication, digital cameras and the Internet for disseminating information anonymously and with fewer boundaries. The examples of resistance discussed draw attention to the ambivalence of certain forms of agency. They demonstrate that resistance can be self-destructive or intentionally ambiguous by using parody and innuendos. These examples support the argument for broader considerations of resistance independent of assumptions of efficacy or success in altering existing structures, intentionality for emancipation and affirmative action.

Document 2 of 18

Counting the dead: Human rights claims and counter-claims in Colombia
Tate, Winifred. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2005. Section 0146, Part 0326 531 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — New York: New York University; 2005. Publication Number: AAT 3157862.
Advisor: Abercrombie, Thomas
School: New York University
School Location: United States — New York
Index terms(keywords): Social movements, Political violence, Military culture, Dead, Human rights, Colombia
Source: DAI-A 65/12, p. 4620, Jun 2005
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 3157862
ISBN: 0496903241
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=845780131&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 845780131

Abstract (Document Summary)
In Counting the Dead: Human Rights Claims and Counter-Claims in Colombia , I argue that the power of human rights to mobilize political action is derived not from claims of universality but from the ways human rights claims resonate with and rework existing political identities and agendas. Following more than a decade of professional experience with non-profit human rights organizations, I conducted fieldwork with non-governmental human rights organizations and civilian and military governmental human rights offices in Colombia and during the United Nations Human Rights Commission meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. My research, funded by grants from the Wenner Gren Foundation and the U.S. Institute for Peace, shows that the strategic interaction between local groups, state agencies and international actors, and these groups’ political cultures, profoundly shape the ways local groups mobilize action using human rights claims, and the outcomes of that activism. I argue that the activist identity constructed through the practice of human rights activism by non-governmental organizations in Colombia has emerged from ideologies of suffering and martyrdom, originating in the political culture of Communist and Catholic institutions that dominated the early human rights movement. This activist identity has been a source of profound strength for ngos as the foundation for resistance to on-going political persecution, but has also led to deep internal divisions with those arguing for a professional, humanitarian conceptualization of human rights work, as well as alienated a larger public increasingly concerned with violence from left-wing guerrilla groups. Profoundly shaped by transgovernmental activism, and in many cases staffed by former ngo activists, new state human rights agencies have opened new avenues for state action on individual cases. By channeling concern about human rights cases into an endless loop of repeating cycles of bureaucratic programs, however, state human rights agencies often contribute to the production of impunity. Based on interviews with Colombian military officers and review of military documents, I demonstrate that the Colombian military attempts to harness the power of human rights, including international legitimacy and funding, by proactively adapting human rights discourses and practices into existing military cultural conceptions of the state, society, and military institutions.

Document 3 of 18

Female circumcision: Life histories of Somali women
Khaja, Khadija. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2004. Section 0240, Part 0326 210 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Utah: The University of Utah; 2004. Publication Number: AAT 3123801.
School: The University of Utah
School Location: United States — Utah
Index terms(keywords): Female circumcision, Life histories, Somali, Women
Source: DAI-A 65/02, p. 584, Aug 2004
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Womens studies
Publication Number: AAT 3123801
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=765363321&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 765363321

Abstract (Document Summary)
Female circumcision is a practice that globally has affected 130 million people. Two million females are circumcised yearly, amounting to 6,000 circumcised per day. Female circumcision is defined as the deliberate removal or injury to any part of the female genitalia without medical justification.

The purpose of this qualitative exploratory dissertation study was to provide an alternative discursive format by having African women describe their experiences with female circumcision and the meaning these experiences have for them. Through ethnographic research, this study examined the practice of female circumcision among Somali Muslim women living in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Toronto, Canada. Women’s stories of themselves, their families, and their communities set the context for examining how female circumcision has affected their lives and whether or not it will always be an integral part of their lives.

Seventeen Somali women were interviewed for this study. Face-to-face, semistructured interviews were conducted utilizing qualitative life history methodology. Findings suggested that motivations for the practice revolved around cultural, religious, and psychosexual beliefs. Major risks of the practice were associated with sexual intercourse difficulties, pain experienced during menstrual cycles, and recollections of physical pain endured during female circumcision. Risks were reported by women who experienced excision or infibulation circumcision. Women who experienced “sunna circumcision” reported no risks. The role of children, elders, and community were found to be critical factors in influencing the perpetuation of the practice. Adjustment issues, discrimination, lack of employment, and language barriers were also difficulties experienced by circumcised women living in North America. Importantly, circumcised women wanted to be trusted so that service providers would have faith in them and not assume the practice was continuing here in North America. Respondents believed that human rights and child abuse policies that have banned all forms of female circumcision have stereotyped people in circumcised communities as criminals. Cultural sensitivity was seen as a key area that needed further development for service providers working with circumcised communities.

These findings add to the knowledge base about female circumcision, increasing understanding of the practice. Information from this study will assist North American human service providers, health practitioners, and policymakers to deal with the practice. In addition, this study contributes to the literature on international women’s health issues, multicultural research strategies, international child welfare issues, and human rights issues.

Document 4 of 18

Performing the signs of injury: Critical perspectives on traumatic storytelling after apartheid
Colvin, Christopher James. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2004. Section 0246, Part 0326 409 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Virginia: University of Virginia; 2004. Publication Number: AAT 3137288.
Advisor: Handler, Richard
School: University of Virginia
School Location: United States — Virginia
Index terms(keywords): Storytelling, Traumatic storytelling, Apartheid, South Africa
Source: DAI-A 65/06, p. 2255, Dec 2004
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 3137288
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=766122631&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 766122631

Abstract (Document Summary)
Since the end of apartheid, those who suffered human rights violations during apartheid became the objects of a great deal of attention, both inside and outside South Africa. Victims have been repeatedly approached for their stories and experiences, asked permission to record and circulate these narratives, and, often, promised a range of benefits. These promises typically go unfulfilled and victims have grown increasingly impatient with the next person who arrives on their doorstep, speaking about the miracle of testimony and reconciliation. This dissertation traces the ambivalent testimonial practice of “traumatic storytelling” in the work of Khulumani, a victim support and advocacy group, and the Cape Town Trauma Centre, a psychological trauma clinic that offered counseling services to Khulumani members. Traumatic storytelling was frequently a point of conflict and debate between Khulumani and the many individuals and institutions–both local and foreign–that sought out their traumatic narratives. These tensions were heightened as Khulumani pursued a high-profile political battle for reparations from the government, and increasingly drew attention, both welcome and unwelcome, from journalists, academics, and politicians.

The chapters move roughly chronologically through a broad, two-year ethnographic account of the work of Khulumani and the Trauma Centre. Each chapter also highlights one or more of the various “domains” in which traumatic storytelling operated. Chapters 1 and 2 examine traumatic storytelling as a product of a number of political, religious and scientific discourses that came together in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Chapter 3 examines debates around the psychological dimensions of traumatic storytelling. Chapter 4 moves from the psychological to the social and moral aspects of traumatic storytelling. Chapter 5 looks at the “political economy of traumatic storytelling” while Chapter 6 considers the relationship between traumatic storytelling and political action.Chapter 7 considers the kinds of subjectivity promoted by traumatic storytelling. The final chapter examines the question of “memory, power, and subjectivity” in traumatic storytelling and discusses the emerging politics of trauma and memory in post-apartheid South Africa.

Document 5 of 18

Are these truths self-evident: Language, culture and human rights in the United States and China
Patent, Jason Daniel. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2003. Section 0028, Part 0290 488 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — California: University of California, Berkeley; 2003. Publication Number: AAT 3105336.
Advisor: Sweetser, Eve E.
School: University of California, Berkeley
School Location: United States — California
Index terms(keywords): Language, Culture, Human rights, China, United States
Source: DAI-A 64/09, p. 3273, Mar 2004
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Linguistics, Asian literature, American literature, Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 3105336
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=764945511&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 764945511

Abstract (Document Summary)
American advocates of international human rights often assume that the notion of human rights is somehow “universal,” or understood in the same way across all linguistic and cultural communities. Critics of this view often resort to universalism’s logical opposite, radical relativism, which holds that no concepts are stable across cultures. Strong universalist and relativist claims tend to be a priori .

What is missing is empirical investigation. Cognitive linguistics offers useful tools for such an investigation. In this study, human rights is treated as a complex cultural category which can only be understood through underlying cultural models of what a human is: cultural expectations of how humans do and should behave, especially with respect to societal institutions such as the family and the state. The category human rights is compared to its closest Chinese counterpart, r�nqu�n , in a similar way: by unpacking the underlying Chinese cultural models.

What emerge are two complex systems of cultural models that serve as the basis for the differences and similarities between human rights and r�nqu�n . Awareness of these differences points the way not only toward a deeper understanding of how these two cultural categories are related, but also to some deeply important aspects of American and Chinese culture. This can facilitate better cross-cultural communication about any number of issues.

Document 6 of 18

The violence of misery: “Insecurity” in Haiti in the “democratic” era
James, Erica Caple. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2003. Section 0084, Part 0326 600 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Massachusetts: Harvard University; 2003. Publication Number: AAT 3091587.
Advisor: Kleinman, Arthur
School: Harvard University
School Location: United States — Massachusetts
Index terms(keywords): Violence, Misery, Haiti, Insecurity, Democratic era, Human rights
Source: DAI-A 64/05, p. 1730, Nov 2003
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, International law, International relations, Rehabilitation, Therapy
Publication Number: AAT 3091587
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=765892321&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 765892321

Abstract (Document Summary)
This dissertation analyzes how poor Haitians who were targeted by egregious acts of organized violence during the coup years of 1991-1994 in Haiti have been able to cope with ongoing ensekirite (insecurity) in the neo-modern era of “democracy.” Through twenty-six months of fieldwork in three different sites, I explore the international, national and community-level responses to the plight of “traumatized” Haitian victims of human rights violations, asking how those victims are configured as the objects of the bureaucratic discourses of feminism, bio-medicine, law/human rights, and democratic development in the so-called “postconflict” period. The assistance extended to “victims” (or viktim , as they call themselves) is explicitly bio-political, and I contextualize it within a history of multiple interventions by governmental and nongovernmental agencies that have attempted (and continue to attempt) to consolidate democracy and the rule of law in Haiti.

Haitians are not passive consumers of these institutional languages. The study also evaluates the tactics by which Haitian viktim adopt, reject or manipulate these discourses and bureaucratic practices–at times quite violently–in their efforts to gain political recognition and to rebuild their lives. A central focus of my research is on the strategies for individual and family care and survival that emerge in spite of the ontological insecurity that permeates day-to-day life in Haiti. The thesis argues that many of these strategies reproduce the historical “predatory” practices that pro-democracy activists have fought to eradicate in their quest for democracy.

Document 7 of 18

Transnational legal space: Corporations, states, and the Free Burma movement
Dale, John Gilbert. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2003. Section 0029, Part 0700 375 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — California: University of California, Davis; 2003. Publication Number: AAT 3082531.
School: University of California, Davis
School Location: United States — California
Index terms(keywords): Transnational, Legal space, Corporations, Free Burma movement, Burma, Globalization, Myanmar
Source: DAI-A 64/03, p. 1101, Sep 2003
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social structure, International law, International relations, Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 3082531
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=765333701&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 765333701

Abstract (Document Summary)
This dissertation examines the Free Burma movement as a case study of the potentially transformative movement politics of transnational legal action. Part I examines the development of Burma/Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement since 1988, and challenges existing scholarship that depicts this process as a failed “people power” movement or as a movement hopelessly stalled by neo-liberal international foreign policy, repressive military governance, and divisive politics among a resource-poor, organizationally outflanked, domestic opposition. It describes how this movement forged a transnational network with NGOs and activists participating in a variety of other social and political movements. It traces the movement’s transformation from nation-centered strategies of protest in Burma deploying civil rights discourse targeting the military’s state-rule to transnational strategies of collective action after 1994 that deploy discourses on human rights and corporate governance targeting the relationship between the Myanmar Government and the transnational corporations with whom it has created partnerships since 1990. The author argues that, because transnational corporations are embedded in the politics, law, and morality of the states that have created them, and not only of the states within which they conduct business, relations like those between the Myanmar Government and its corporate partners have unintentionally provided their challengers with new opportunities. Part II presents three transnational “Free Burma” campaigns waged primarily within the United States after 1994: a selective purchasing law campaign against all corporations conducting business with the Myanmar Government (Chapter 4); the campaign to revoke Unocal Oil Company’s corporate charter (Chapter 5); and the Doe v. Unocal lawsuit, representing the time that a transnational corporation has been successfully sued under the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act. Each campaign highlights a different dimension–legislative, administrative, and judicial–of the processes through which the rules and institutional arrangements are produced to enable and constrain global market relations between transnational corporations and states. Using a variety of legal documents and interviews conducted within and outside Burma, the author develops an “ethnography of transnational legal space” to provide a mapping of the contested legal terrain over which the Free Burma movement has struggled, and the contingencies that this struggle has produced.

Document 8 of 18

Traumatic states: Violence and reconciliation in Peru
Theidon, Kimberly Susan. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2002. Section 1066, Part 0326 351 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — California: University of California, Berkeley with the University of California, San Francisco; 2002. Publication Number: AAT 3082613.
Advisor: Scheper-Hughes, Nancy
School: University of California, Berkeley with the University of California, San Francisco
School Location: United States — California
Index terms(keywords): Traumatic states, Violence, Reconciliation, Peru
Source: DAI-A 64/02, p. 558, Aug 2003
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 3082613
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=765310441&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 765310441

Abstract (Document Summary)
This dissertation is based upon extensive fieldwork on political violence, psychosocial trauma, human rights and community reconstruction in post-war Peru. I explore how Andean campesinos in Ayacucho are rebuilding individual lives and collective existence in the aftermath of fifteen years of civil war. I situate their efforts to resurrect village life within the context of broader political forces at the local, national and transnational levels. My comparative community-based research has allowed me to investigate the social and cultural resources that facilitate individual, familial and communal recuperation in a post-war society.

One particularity of civil wars is that foreign armies did not wage the attacks: frequently the enemy was a son-in-law, a godfather, an old schoolmate, or the community that lies just across the valley. The charged social landscape of the present reflects the lasting damage done by a recent past in which people saw just what the neighbors could do.

Central to my research have been the following questions: How do people make and unmake lethal violence in a particular historical context? What happens to social relations and group identities in the process? When is someone my neighbor, my pr�jimo (fellow creature, brother) and how do they become someone that I will track down and kill? What might a social psychology of political violence and its aftermath tell us about our current understanding of the effects of traumatic events on both individuals and communities? Finally, what are the possibilities and the limitations of subaltern forms of justice, punishment, and reconciliation among intimate enemies?

Thus I have tried to grasp how the campesina population is reconstructing daily life and humane relationships after two decades of armed conflict. I have explored what people say they suffer from and how they attempt to set things right. This exploration has required me to hold present both the pain and the creativity involved in the making and unmaking of the world.

Document 9 of 18

Paranoid transparencies: Aceh’s historical grievance and Indonesia’s failed reform
Drexler, Elizabeth Frances. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2001. Section 0250, Part 0326 356 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Washington: University of Washington; 2001. Publication Number: AAT 3036461.
Advisor: Anagnost, Ann
School: University of Washington
School Location: United States — Washington
Index terms(keywords): Aceh, Historical grievance, Indonesia, Reform, Social justice
Source: DAI-A 62/12, p. 4225, Jun 2002
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Political science, History
Publication Number: AAT 3036461
ISBN: 049349460X
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=726118071&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 726118071

Abstract (Document Summary)
This dissertation argues that democratic reforms and transition to rule of law have not succeeded in post-Soeharto Indonesia because political culture is haunted by unresolved historical grievance, residues of fabricated histories, and legacies of imagined enemies. While suppression of difference and erasure or manipulation of history may have created these ghosts, my research demonstrates that mere exposure of the “true facts” of history has not reversed the terror created by Soeharto’s authoritarian New Order regime.

Based on extensive fieldwork (February 1998-December 2000)–amongst political activists, non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and elite reformers–and employment as a policy analyst in Indonesia, my dissertation considers how the idea that the Indonesian nation is threatened may in fact be threatening national unity. My detailed consideration of state violence, historical grievance, and armed separatism in resource rich Aceh province discloses the process by which exposure of state violence without judicial accountability has exacerbated the conflict and created a situation in which there is no neutral position. I trace the process by which the military’s imagined enemy became a real separatist threat through an international conflict resolution intervention that mistook public secrets for truth and substantiated the shadowy figure of the “provocateur” (initially, a veiled reference to disavowed military members who engineered or perpetrated violence). In the post-New Order period, the figure of the provocateur disrupted the logic of public secrets and imagined enemies and enforced a climate of low-level violence and criminality in which justice and law seemed increasingly handicapped and more untenable than when they worked in the service of the New Order.

In contrast to exposures of violence that I have demonstrated often exacerbate the conflicts they describe, I explore how in the case of Aceh, violence functions on the border of discourse and materiality, making threats into real dangers. A genealogical history of the terms and incidents of seemingly intractable but not inevitable violence may enable alternative futures.

Document 10 of 18

Performing memory, rehearsing reconciliation: The art of truth in the new South Africa
Marlin-Curiel, Stephanie Greer Haber. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2001. Section 0146, Part 0465 397 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — New York: New York University; 2001. Publication Number: AAT 3009337.
Advisor: Schechner, Richard
School: New York University
School Location: United States — New York
Index terms(keywords): Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Performing, Memory, Reconciliation, Art, South Africa
Source: DAI-A 62/03, p. 845, Sep 2001
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Theater, African history, Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 3009337
ISBN: 0493194789
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=729007841&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 729007841

Abstract (Document Summary)
In this dissertation, I explore the politically and ethically significant interventions in cultural responses to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Publicly staging individual testimonies of both survivors and perpetrators of gross human rights violations under apartheid, the intense drama, and at times, theatricality, of the TRC has almost precluded any need for its further dramatization in aesthetic contexts. My dissertation portrays the TRC as a process full of paradoxes and contradictions that quickly exceeds the confines of its institutional space to be enacted in less circumscribed contexts in the cultural sphere. This dissertation documents testimonial performances between 1997 and 2000 in main stage and touring theatre, community-based performance, visual art, multimedia installation, “alternative” rave performance, and at tourist destinations. In this historical moment in South Africa, memory not only becomes a means for building individual and national identity, but is subsumed under a moral economy of making amends for and reclaiming the past. The appropriation, editing, and manipulation of TRC testimony by the media and in artistic work facilitates memory as a commodity, whereby one can “buy into” citizenship in the “new” South Africa. Such commodification ironically both constitutes and compromises memory as truth and justice. By recognizing the TRC as performance and South African political theatre’s historical relationship to testimony, I show how truth is inextricably bound with performance such that it is neither undermined nor fully determined by it. The first part of the dissertation raises issues concerning ethical and political responses to The Truth and Reconciliation Commission by artists and theatre practitioners. The second part moves into potentially alternative public spaces and alternative models of truth and reconciliation, and the third part contemplates the impact of technology and globalization on the production of memory in South Africa.

Document 11 of 18

De eso no se habla (“we don’t talk about that”): Transmission of silences and fragmented [hi]stories in young Argentineans’ memories of terror
Kaiser, M. Susana. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2000. Section 0227, Part 0336 393 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Texas: The University of Texas at Austin; 2000. Publication Number: AAT 9992830.
Advisor: Downing, John D.
School: The University of Texas at Austin
School Location: United States — Texas
Index terms(keywords): Terror, Collective memory, Silence transmission, Argentineans, Human rights
Source: DAI-A 61/11, p. 4512, May 2001
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Latin American history, Mass media, Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT 9992830
ISBN: 0493009523
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=727838011&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 727838011

Abstract (Document Summary)
This dissertation explores Argentineans’ post-memories (Hirsch) of the military government there during the years 1976-83. It concentrates on young people who did not witness the events, were born during them or afterwards, and have an entirely mediated knowledge of that historical period. It centers on how the current younger generation has reconstructed this past from the sources available to it.

My conceptual focus is on the dynamic process of how collective memories–memories that are shared by individuals within different sectors of society–are transmitted and constructed through intergenerational dialogue, formal education and the communication media, as well as through exposure to different messages and discursive networks within families, and among friends or classmates. Conceptually speaking, I integrate collective memory theory and communication theory, and tie both of these directly to the contested democratization process in Argentina over the past twenty years.

I examine this process through qualitative empirical research. This took the form of focussed interviews and focus-group interviews with sixty-three respondents (drawing upon young people, schoolteachers and a few human rights activists), and of attendance at related activities, namely public lectures and escraches , all of this in Buenos Aires. By focussing very largely on what I have labeled a “gray zone”–i.e. young people who were politically quiescent and whose families were not directly affected by the dictatorship–the study looks at what this period meant for society at large, not at the immediate victims or agents of the government from that time.

Certain fundamental questions underlay these interviews: what was young people’s information concerning the 1976-83 period? How did they learn what they know? How were they processing this information? I have divided my analysis of the contents and sources of these post-memories into four major themes: societal fears and silences, knowledge of the genesis of and responsibility for the actions of the military regime, impunity and prospects for accountability, and the cultural products that have become the regime’s historical referents. Through the analysis of these topics I also explore how particular representations of the past appear to be shaping young people’s opinions and actions in the present.

Document 12 of 18

Mayan women: Survival, transformation, and hope. Living through times of violence and reparation
Williams, Joan Walton. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2000. Section 0227, Part 0622 226 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Texas: The University of Texas at Austin; 2000. Publication Number: AAT 9992937.
Advisor: Tharinger, Deborah
School: The University of Texas at Austin
School Location: United States — Texas
Index terms(keywords): Mayan, Women, Survival, Hope, Violence, Reparation, Guatemala
Source: DAI-B 61/11, p. 6155, May 2001
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Psychotherapy, Social psychology, Cultural anthropology, Womens studies
Publication Number: AAT 9992937
ISBN: 0493013148
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=727848751&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 727848751

Abstract (Document Summary)
This ethnographic exploratory study investigated how long-term exposure to multiple experiences of violence during youth for Guatemalan Maya Ixil women is currently being redressed via culturally specific mechanisms. These women endured and actively survived the State-sponsored fratricide that beleaguered their community between the late 1970s and mid-1990s. Data was compiled while living in a highland village of Guatemala during the period of a year. The researcher participated in an ongoing indigenous women’s participatory action research (PAR) project, FotoVoz [PhotoVoice] and in local exhumations of clandestine gravesites. Interviews conducted in conjunction with the women’s research project and during the exhumations were triangulated with collateral data gathered via ongoing participant observation within the PAR project as well as numerous other sites, corroborative interviews, and key documents. Six culturally specific and dynamic mechanisms were identified that the women are using to redress the effects of the violence: (a) somatic illness vs. alternative expression of pain, (b) silence vs. voice, (c) distrust vs. trust, (d) altered grief vs. resolved grief, (e) existential dilemma vs. renegotiating meaning, and (f) static identity vs. role transformation. It is suggested that these culturally specific mechanisms are a means of redressing imbalances to areas of attachment, cognitive schema, and neurobiology that are affronted by traumatic incidences. In addition, analysis found that resiliency and healing was enhanced via active participation in activities that broadened women’s understanding of the social and political conditions in Guatemala, increased literacy and linguistic skills, and enlightened participants about their rights as women, indigenous Maya, and human beings. Membership in Communities of Populations in Resistance during the violence, educational activities, and the PAR project, Fotovoz, were all seen as imbuing resilient strength for the women. Critical methodological and ethical considerations found crucial to the current investigation are addressed that speak to research conducted among populations who have traditionally been oppressed and marginalized. Finally, challenges addressed by the researcher as a result of conducting the investigation in a remote community that was linguistically and culturally distinct from hers are presented. Participation in the local PAR research activities are described and noted as a vital link to the investigation’s success.

Document 13 of 18

Narrating la violencia: State, gender, and violence in a transnational Guatemalan community
Hastings, Julie Ann. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2000. Section 0127, Part 0326 318 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Michigan: University of Michigan; 2000. Publication Number: AAT 9963798.
Advisor: Coronil, Fernando
School: University of Michigan
School Location: United States — Michigan
Index terms(keywords): Narrating, State, Gender, Violence, Transnational, Guatemalan
Source: DAI-A 61/03, p. 1051, Sep 2000
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Womens studies, Latin American history
Publication Number: AAT 9963798
ISBN: 0599680717
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=731871361&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 731871361

Abstract (Document Summary)
In this dissertation I explore the ways one group of indigenous Guatemalans narrated the extreme state violence they experienced during the early 1980s, a period popularly known as la violencia . Originally from the town of San Jos�, this group of Guatemalans was dispersed both by la violencia and by economic necessity. Based on ethnographic research with Jose�os in San Jos� (Guatemala), Chiapas (Mexico) and Los Angeles (United States), I argue that Jose�o narratives of state violence were tactical, learned and appropriated in situated contexts and toward practical ends. As such, rather than being inherently resistive, they often colluded with and reproduced categories of state authority. While reaffirming their own innocence of subversion, Jose�o narratives often placed responsibility for la violencia on the guerrillas rather than the state. These claims of innocence often included accusing other Jose�os of guerrilla involvement and thereby reinforced the Guatemalan state’s strategy of breaking down community cohesion. I further argue that the United States, Mexican, and Guatemalan governments were collusive in constructing the categories which legitimated state authority to police and control. In Guatemala, where the threat of army retribution continued, public discussion of la violencia was mostly limited to reiteration of the Guatemalan government’s “official story” that the guerrillas provoked the violence and that those killed by the army were guerrillas and sympathizers. In Mexico, a genre of testimonial narratives emerged in a context in which refugee status, protection, and aid were dependent on the representation of a collective history of persecution and innocence. In Los Angeles, individualization and denial of refugee status by the INS limited the development of a collective testimonial discourse. In all three contexts, the marginalization of state-sponsored rape accounts reproduced the categorization of rape as a non-political crime. Jose�os’ narratives did, at times, challenge the legitimacy of la violencia , particularly by appropriating a human rights discourse which articulated various forms of systematic oppression and violence. The rare inclusion of state-sponsored rape survivors as representatives of a community of political innocence allowed for a radical critique of the Guatemalan state and the violence it committed.

Document 14 of 18

Towards healing the trauma of torture in Buddhist settings
Wind, Steven. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2000. Section 0009, Part 0326 180 pages; [M.A. dissertation].United States — Arizona: The University of Arizona; 2000. Publication Number: AAT 1399738.
Advisor: Baro, Mamadou
School: The University of Arizona
School Location: United States — Arizona
Index terms(keywords): HEALING, TRAUMA, TORTURE, BUDDHIST, TOWARDS, SETTINGS
Source: MAI 38/06, p. 1471, Dec 2000
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Psychotherapy
Publication Number: AAT 1399738
ISBN: 0599774487
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=732204561&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 732204561

Abstract (Document Summary)
Trauma resulting from torture and other forms of organized violence has been recognized as a growing international public health problem. International NGOs have responded to this problem by initiating anti-torture information campaigns and by establishing collaborative torture rehabilitation and community mental health programs in more than 120 communities in refugee resettlement countries as well as in countries recovering from war-related violence and gross human rights violations. These programs have faced the challenge of recognizing and integrating the non-Western ethnomedical and ethnopsychiatric beliefs of the populations being served into programs founded on Western medical epistemology. The appropriateness of applying in such settings Western diagnostic criteria such as post-traumatic stress disorder has been called into question. Buddhist beliefs further problematize the idea of culturally sensitive treatment. This paper examines torture rehabilitation programs working with Khmer and Tibetan populations with particular attention to the potential contribution of indigenous healing modalities and religious beliefs and practices.

Document 15 of 18

Human rights language and the liberation of women
Burke-Ravizza, Bridget Mary. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 1999. Section 0016, Part 0469 246 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States — Massachusetts: Boston College; 1999. Publication Number: AAT 9953213.
Advisor: Cahill, Lisa Sowle
School: Boston College
School Location: United States — Massachusetts
Index terms(keywords): Human rights language, Liberation, Women’s liberation, Moral norms
Source: DAI-A 60/12, p. 4478, Jun 2000
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Theology, Womens studies, Language, Rhetoric, Composition, Political science
Publication Number: AAT 9953213
ISBN: 0599564156
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=730584911&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 730584911

Abstract (Document Summary)
This dissertation explores the complexities and possibilities of eliciting consensus about moral norms–particularly those that affect women–across cultures. Specifically, it is an ethical analysis of human rights rhetoric as a possible method of speaking about moral norms across religious and cultural gulfs in our diverse world. Its point of departure is the unequal situation of women worldwide, and the prevalent exclusion of women from basic material and social goods. I approach the project from a feminist perspective. Of special concern are the ways in which the Catholic social tradition, revised in light of feminist concerns, can contribute to a conception of rights that is culturally sensitive and that includes women as full participants in the common good.

In the tradition of Catholic social teaching, I propose a rights language which is non-sectarian, with disclosive power in the international political arena. It takes into account criticisms (of Western, liberal rights language) from Marxism, liberation theology, anti-colonialism, the Catholic Church, postmodernism and feminism. I argue that if rights rhetoric is to be successful in the international arena, the key is threefold: (1) an accurate anthropology must stand behind the use of rights language, (2) persons who traditionally have been voiceless in the development of norms must participate in determining what constitutes rights, and (3) some diversity must be allowed in the implementation of universal human rights in differing cultural contexts. I look particularly to Catholic social teaching as well as the work of Edward Schillebeeckx and Martha Nussbaum as models for a feasible, inductive approach to human rights grounded in an accurate anthropology.

Throughout, I emphasize that rights rhetoric must be met by local practices and institutions, which it both criticizes and builds on. Development efforts are essential to making rights language effective in the lives of women worldwide, as illustrated by two case studies.

Document 16 of 18

Rites vs. rights: The case of female genital mutilation
Wright, Melisa Simone. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 1999. Section 1098, Part 0616 118 pages; [M.A. dissertation].Canada: Acadia University (Canada); 1999. Publication Number: AAT MQ45385.
Advisor: Conley, Marshall Wm.
School: Acadia University (Canada)
School Location: Canada
Index terms(keywords): RITES, RIGHTS, FEMALE, GENITAL, MUTILATION, VS, CASE
Source: MAI 38/03, p. 598, Jun 2000
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: International law, International relations, Womens studies, Cultural anthropology
Publication Number: AAT MQ45385
ISBN: 0612453855
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=732123921&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 732123921

Abstract (Document Summary)
Female Genital Mutilation or FGM as it is commonly referred to is a painful and dangerous procedure whereby part or all of the female child’s external genitalia are excised. FGM is a practice that affects about 130 million women in 28 African countries, North America and Europe making it one of the world’s major public health problems amongst females. In light of this fact, this thesis purpose is to illustrate the how this practice is a blatant violation of human right by providing painful and explicit details of the variety of severities of this procedure along with painful interviews of women who have undergone this procedure at tender young ages.

By presenting all the details in a concise manner, this thesis had made it very clear that Female Genial Mutilation is a persistent cultural trait that any efforts to eradicate this practice goes well beyond the scope of this thesis to a much global level.

However, this thesis is just one dent in the human rights discourse that will not permit this dreadful practice to be shrouded in a cloud secrecy. We as the international public must join in the fight to dismantle the walls of silence surrounding this practice.

Document 17 of 18

Discussing “human rights”: An anthropological exposition on “human rights” discourse
Bajor, William J.. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 1997. Section 0636, Part 0326 412 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].Scotland: University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom); 1997. Publication Number: AAT 9801543.
Advisor: Holy, Ladislav
School: University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
School Location: Scotland
Index terms(keywords): Sudanese, exile
Source: DAI-A 58/07, p. 2714, Jan 1998
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, International law, International relations, African history
Publication Number: AAT 9801543
ISBN: 0591512041
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=736565401&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 736565401

Abstract (Document Summary)
This thesis examines how the displaced Sudanese in Egypt, Kenya, and the United Kingdom discuss the topic of “Human Rights”. Whereas many studies on “Human Rights” are primarily concerned with the opinions of outsiders, an attempt is made here to provide an alternative perspective in that the focus of this dissertation is on how the displaced Sudanese, themselves, discuss “Human Rights” in view of their situation as exiles. The thesis begins historical evolution of the ‘Western’ concept of “Human Rights” and investigating the historical relationship between Anthropology and “Human Rights”. Attention is paid to the role of the doctrine of “cultural relativism” in the discipline of Anthropology. After briefly looking at Sudan’s geographical and social makeup, I explain the difficulties I encountered as an independent scholar conducting research on “Human Rights” and Sudan. This is followed by descriptions of the fieldwork locations. What comes next is the heart and soul of the thesis. After giving brief descriptions of the interviewees, I analyse how the interviews were conducted and explain how the issue of “Politics” dominated practically every discussion with the interviewees. Next, excerpts from nineteen interviews are presented for the reader to get acquainted with the conversations between the interviewees and myself. Finally, an examination is made of how “Human Rights” is employed as a manipulative device (or tool) by the interviewees. This is essentially the crux of the study. The chief aim of the thesis is to present various ways the notion of “Human Rights” can be (and is) interpreted and utilised by the displaced Sudanese in the context of their own circumstances as exiles.

Document 18 of 18

Whose oppression is this? Participatory research with Cambodian refugee women after repatriation
Robinson, Phyllis Gail. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 1997. Section 0118, Part 0282 221 pages; [Ed.D. dissertation].United States — Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst; 1997. Publication Number: AAT 9737579.
Advisor: Miltz, Robert
School: University of Massachusetts Amherst
School Location: United States — Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 58/06, p. 2040, Dec 1997
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Bilingual education, Multicultural education, Educational theory, Cultural anthropology, Womens studies
Publication Number: AAT 9737579
ISBN: 0591475073
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=740122181&Fmt=2&clientId=53836&RQT=309&VName=PQD
ProQuest document ID: 740122181

Abstract (Document Summary)
Over the last two decades, international development organizations and agencies have adopted “people’s participation” as an imperative of the development process. Viewed as a prescription for redressing the imbalance of power between different cultures and systems of knowledge, its purpose has been a compensation for the “developed” world’s mind/colonialization of “developing” countries. I have discovered, through my own work as a Western academic engaged in participatory educational projects in the refugee camp setting, how it is possible to use “participation” as a “smoke screen”: masking how we manage and control the lives of the disenfranchised in carrying out our quest for democracy, modernization, market economies and even women’s rights as human rights.

This dissertation examines a research process in context. Using aspects of participatory action research, I spent two months with two groups of Cambodian women who had returned to their country after spending a decade or more in refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border. The main intention of this collaborative research relationship was to examine issues of reintegration.

The feedback from the refugee women in my previous work in the camps and in this study with women returnees, coupled with the examination of case studies and other qualitative studies from the literature, has led to questions concerning the epistemological, philosophical and political motivations underlying “participatory” policy, education, and research.

The dissertation examines the what, where, why and how of these considerations. Positioning myself among post-structural and post-modern as well as third world feminists, but with a sense of openness, I combine these world views in deconstructing the methods of negotiation in knowledge production and the dialogic process required in crossing cultural horizons with this particular group of women returnees to Cambodia. The purpose of the study is to explore ways of carrying out “the cause for social justice”, without destroying it in the process.

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One Response

  1. Informative. I also have an article about it.

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