Prof, no one is reading you

An average academic journal article is read in its entirety by about 10 people. To shape policy, professors should start penning commentaries in popular media.
Students at a University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School lecture in San Francisco. Even if scholars agree on the importance of publishing in the popular media, the system plays against them. Publications in peer-reviewed journals continue to be the key performance indicator within academia: whether anyone reads them is a secondary consideration. — PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

MANY of the world’s most talented thinkers may be university professors, but sadly most of them are not shaping today’s public debates or influencing policies.

Indeed, scholars often frown upon publishing in the popular media. “Running an opinion editorial to share my views with the public? Sounds like activism to me,” a professor recently noted at a conference, hosted by the University of Oxford.

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Europe must stop exporting its migration fears – or face the consequences

LONDON, 13 April 2015 (IRIN) – In a new column, anthropologist and author of “Illegality, Inc.” Ruben Andersson of the London School of Economics warns that European Union initiatives to collaborate with African states may fuel irregular migration rather than stem it.

In 2010, on the eve of the Arab spring, the time had come for the big yearly gathering at Europe’s borders as police, Navy officers and border guards congregated in a swish hotel in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Eighty-nine security chiefs from 25 countries mingled in the fifth Euro-African policing conference on irregular migration. In the breaks, African marines sipped tea with Spanish civil guards on the hotel terrace while Algerian and Greek officers snapped pictures of each other as souvenirs. As journalists and border guards streamed back into the halls, the director of Spain’s security forces assured his audience that the fight against the “scourge” of irregular migration was proceeding apace thanks to “the collaboration between all the institutions represented here”. His speech was strident; the battle for Europe’s borders was being won. (gehiago…)

Michel Foucault: Obras Completas para descargar


Culture is for the birds…and the bees…and the dolphins, etc.

I guess I’m not surprised the idea of nonhuman cultures still generates disquiet for some cultural anthropologists. But I was a bit taken aback that this long-running argument seemed to be news. After all, there are recent ethnographic examples of what this looks like: Lisa Jean Moore and Mary Kosut characterize their book, Buzz, as “an api-ethnography that considers bees as cultured beings that traffic between worlds of the hive and of the urban landscape” (2013:36), taking “the subjective experience of bees” as one of their foci as they work to interpret bees’ behavior. Somewhat less boldly, Colin Jerolmack’s The Global Pigeon (2013) depicts these birds as part of the social interactional order of public space; though he maintains them at the center of his ethnographic analysis, arguing, by the way, that “pigeons partly domesticated themselves” (9) in colonizing urban space. And of course there’s Eduardo Kohn’s, How Forests Think, winner of the 2014 Gregory Bateson Prize.

But in response to the question about the theoretical foundations for all of this, I’m quite ready to go beyond anthropologist and primatologists like Raymond Corbey and Frans de Waal who’ve been making this case for years. I’m more interested in how nonhuman cultures are being documented and analyzed by natural scientists, because their work opens up new spaces for theorizing culture “beyond the human.”

Start with this recent article in Nature: “Experimentally induced innovations lead to persistent culture via conformity in wild birds.” This is such an important, fascinating report because it 1) expands the scope of “cultural species” beyond the primates; 2) shifts the analysis of cultural transmission across diverse taxa from the lab to the wild; 3) underscores the value of the model of sociality formulated by Gabriel de Tarde explicitly to encompass nonhumans, centered succinctly on innovation and imitation. (gehiago…)

Argentina aprueba la creación de una defensoría LGTB que luchará contra la discriminación a nivel nacional

Plantarle cara a la discriminación por motivo de orientación sexual o identidad de género y hacer que la legislación inclusiva argentina se vea reflejada en la cotidianidad de la comunidad. Son algunos de los objetivos fundacionales de la nueva defensoría LGTB de Argentina, que nace gracias a la firma de un convenio entre el Defensor del Pueblo de la Nación y la Federación Argentina de Lesbianas, Gais, Bisexuales y Transexuales (FALGBT), al que se han sumado otras organizaciones nacionales y locales. Con esta importante apuesta de colaboración entre la administración nacional y las entidades LGTB, Argentina vuelve a consolidarse como uno de los países más avanzados del mundo por lo que a igualdad de derechos del colectivo se refiere.

En 2010 Argentina aprobaba los matrimonios igualitarios y en 2012 daba luz verde a una avanzada ley de identidad de género, que la colocaba en la vanguardia del reconocimiento de los derechos LGTB. Ahora, años después, la nación latinoamericana vuelve a colocarse como referente continental de la igualdad, con la creación de la defensoría nacional LGTB. El Programa de Cooperación Técnica es el documento que servirá para impulsar la nueva organización pública y ha contado con el acuerdo entre el Defensor del Pueblo de la Nación y la FALGBT. Además, el citado texto ha sido rubricado por la Asociación de Travestis, Transexuales y Transgéneros de Argentina (ATTTA) y la defensora LGBT de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires.


Sheila Kitzinger, Childbirth Revolutionary, Dies at 86


Sheila Kitzinger complained that “our culture of birth is heavily medicalized,” with women submitting passively. Credit Rex Features, via Associated Press

Sheila Kitzinger, a British anthropologist who encouraged women around the world to reclaim from doctors their natural prerogative over pregnancy and childbirth, died on Saturday at her home in Oxfordshire, England. She was 86.

Her husband, Uwe, said she died after a short illness. “She was an icon of home birth who decided also to choose home death,” he said.

During Mrs. Kitzinger’s five-decade career, decision-making about childbirth underwent “a seismic shift in attention from the obstetrician to the laboring woman,” said Mr. Kitzinger, an economist and political scientist.

Beginning in 1962 with her book “The Experience of Childbirth,” she championed informing women of the options available to them during pregnancy and delivery and empowered them, rather than clinicians, to choose which course they preferred.

The Quinoa Economy by Aarushi Bhandari

Within the last decade, the grain quinoa has emerged as an alleged “super food” in western dietary practices. Health food stores and upscale grocery chains have aisles dedicated to varieties of quinoa, packaged under many different brand labels, touting it to be a nutritional goldmine. A simple Google search of the word returns pages of results with buzzwords like “healthiest,” “organic,” and “wholesome.” Vegan and health-enthusiast subcultures swear by this expensive food product, and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) even declared the year 2013 International Year of the Quinoa, owing to the grain’s popularity.

The journey of the grain — as it makes it to the gourmet kitchen at upscale restaurants in countries like the United States — however, is often overlooked in mainstream discourse. It often begins in the Yellow Andes region of Bolivia, where the farmers that grow this crop have depended on it as almost a sole nutritional source for decades, if not centuries. The boom in western markets, with exceedingly high demands for this crop has caused it to transition from a traditional food crop to a major cash crop.

While critical global organizations like the FAO have been portraying this as positive, they tend to discount the challenge of participating in a demanding global market. Within-country inequality, skewed export/import dynamics, and capitalist trade practices that remain in the favor of the powerful player in these dynamics – the core consumer – cause new and difficult problems for Bolivian farmers, like not being able to afford to buy the food they have traditionally depended upon.

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El Banco de Información para la Investigación Aplicada en Ciencias Sociales (BIIACS) del CIDE tiene como propósito coadyuvar a un mejor uso de la información, mediante el acopio, depuración y almacenamiento de bases de datos relacionadas con temas públicos y sociales, así como apoyar la conformación de grupos de investigación y análisis que, usando estas bases, generen análisis y reportes útiles tanto para la academia como para los distintos sectores de la sociedad.

La dimensión urbana de la desigualdad

Por, Alicia Ziccardi, directora del Programa Universitario sobre Estudios de la Ciudad de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

La persistencia de las desigualdades en América Latina, 4



Graffiti en una calle de Lima, Perú. Fuente: Cazadores de Graffitis


En el marco de una nueva oleada modernizadora del espacio urbano – impuesta para adecuar el territorio a los requerimientos de la economía global – las ciudades han transformado rápida y profundamente no sólo su fisonomía, sino también las relaciones entre la economía, la sociedad y el territorio. Se trata de construir nuevas relaciones que sustituyan a las construidas durante el proceso industrializador fordista característico del siglo XX. En este contexto uno de los rasgos que signa el espacio urbano en la región es la expansión de las condiciones de pobreza y desigualdad. (gehiago…)