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robertogreco : customs   19

Dr Fish Philosopher🐟 on Twitter: "1. <Brews some coffee.> <puts on anthropologist hat> <cracks knuckles> So the theft of my wonderful colleague, @kahente's, daughter's name by a non-Indigenous film production raises the issue of how western/euro-americ
[images throughout with screenshots of citations]

"1. <Brews some coffee.> <puts on anthropologist hat> <cracks knuckles>

So the theft of my wonderful colleague, @kahente's, daughter's name by a non-Indigenous film production raises the issue of how western/euro-american folks understand 'culture'+ the erasure of Indigenous laws

2. Western/euro-american folks have employed the notion of 'culture' to describe the 'customs, traditions, languages, social institutions' of The Other for a long while now. Made perhaps famous in anthropology's embrace of this unit of analysis in the last few hundred years.

3. the thing about 'culture' in its emergence as anthro's unit of analysis (vs, say, sociology's also fraught but in different ways study of 'society') is that it was employed through colonial period (+ still) to displace the legal-governance standing of nations of 'The Other'.

4. While Euro nations/the West were deemed to have 'laws', everyone else (the Rest) were deemed to have 'customs'/'traditions'/'culture'. This coincided with vigorous efforts by British/American & other western actors to do everything possible to invalidate the laws of 'The Rest'

5. What happens when 'the Rest' have laws? It means that Euro-American actors ('The West') might actually have reciprocal responsibilities to those nations under emerging international law in colonial period & cannot just steal land and destroy nations without legal consequences.

6.(Interlude --- everything I know about this is from Joanne Barker's fabulous book "Sovereignty Matters" and Sylvia Wynter's crucial, canonical piece "Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation--An Argument").

7. As Barker (2005:4) shows us: law matters because this is medium through which nationhood/statehood were recognized+asserted. Both Treaties and Constitutions were mobilized to assert claims over lands/peoples. Genocide was done 'legally' within precepts of euro/american law

8. What happened when euro-american actors entered into treaties with Indigenous nations/confederacies in NA? Euro-american colonizers quickly realized recognition of the laws of the 'Other' meant their claims to lands were vulnerable to international challenge (Barker 2005)

9. So, euro-american colonizers had two handy little tricks up their sleeve: first, invalidate the humanity of those you colonize (Wynter 2003). Place them firmly in the category of the 'fallen flesh'/sinners/'Other' incapable of rational thought (law) ((Wynter 2003: 281-282)

(sorry, this one is a slow burn because I want to make sure I cite sources fairly and generously and provide ample material for folks to consult and check out)

10. This invalidation is helped by the papal bull of 1493, which establishes the 'Doctrine of Discovery' (aka: Spain and Portugal have the right to claim lands they 'find' in the name of God). This is re-asserted in 19th century USA http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Alex06/alex06inter.htm
https://upstanderproject.org/firstlight/doctrine/

11. Second, once you invalidate the humanity of those you colonized, & established that only euro-western/euro-american 'man' can possess rational thought/law, you invalidate the knowledge/being of the other as 'myth/ 'story'/ & 'CULTURE'. Law for the West, Culture for the Rest.

12. This is where the rise of Anthropology is so crucial. It arises at a time when euro-american actors are frantically looking for ways to invalidate the laws, sovereignty, nationhood, self-determination and humanity of everyone they colonized.

13. Just when euro-american actors are looking for ways to legally justify their breaking of treaties they entered into with folks they colonized, anthro trots in with its focus on 'culture'. Culture as embodiment of everything that comprises law without recognizing its authority

14. Once you've established a hierarchy of humanity with white western christian males as the only real '(hu)Man' (see Wynter (2003) and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (2013)), you can set about bracketing out 'the Rest' from your notion of legal and scientific plurality.

15. All of this is crucial. The western 'modern' framing of White Western Christian Men as the only beings capable of rational thought. The anthro fascination w/ 'cultures' of 'The Rest'. (The west/rest framing I borrow from Colin Scott's "Science for the West/TEK for the Rest")

16. This is of course entangled with capitalist expansion. Who can possess things, people, lands is important to expanding claims to property. The designation of subhumanity/de-authorization of laws of The Other are crucial to the violent capitalist white supremacist project.

17. As Christina Sharpe (2016) teaches us: "the history of capital is inextricable from the history of Atlantic chattel slavery".

18. This all comes to matter, anthropologically, because anthro becomes the 'caretaker' of The Other and their de-authorized legal orders, laws, knowing, being. This is the white possessive, as Aileen Moreton-Robinson ((2015) and Moreton-Robinson (2014: 475)) demonstrates:

19. So, when western actors are shocked to discover that they cannot just take things from other nations/societies/confederacies/legal orders, this is because anthro has faithfully done its job as acting as 'caretaker' for the laws/knowing/being of all those nations dispossessed.

20. Remember that the invention/fetishization of small c plural 'cultures' was crucial to the de-authorization of laws, epistemes, ontologies, being of everyone but White European Christian Rational Man. Anthro is basically an epic legal argument against sovereignty of 'The Rest'

21. And this coincided, not innocently, with assertions of racial hierarchies that deemed certain peoples to possess rational law, science, sovereignty, authority. The possession of law coincides with western beliefs in rationality (Wynter 2003).

22. Anthro has a buddy, and that buddy is biology. Biology, as Wynter (2003) demonstrates, mobilizes in the 19th century to develop the notion of Man(2). Man(2) not only has rationality, but he has evolution on his side, justifying his white possessiveness (Wynter 2003: 314-315)

23. So, as long as The West has Law and the Rest has culture, white western actors will continue to dispossess, appropriate, steal,+violate the legal orders of those peoples they colonize, because they believe they have an ontological right to these things (Moreton-Robinson 2015)

24. And anthropology has a lot of answering to do, still, for its role in de-authorizing the legal orders of those colonized by western imperial actors. It is complicit in the re-framing of legal orders, being, and knowing as 'culture', 'myth', 'tradition', and 'custom'.

25. Finally, for an in-depth examination of the ways anthro works to de-authorize Indigenous law, please buy+read Audra Simpson's _Mohawk Interruptus_, which demonstrates how anthro's focus on 'cultures' is used to dispossess Haudenosaunee in North America

26. Please amend tweet 6 to read: Everything I know about this is from Joanne Barker, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Audra Simpson+Sylvia Wynter!!! These 4 thinkers should be among the canon of work taught in Anthro theory courses to help displace its pervasive white possessiveness.

27. So, to wrap up this essay -- the incident this week was the theft of a Kanienkeha name. Audra Simpson (2014) here explains how the concept of 'culture' & western property (il)logics are used to deny Indigenous ownership of lands, knowing, being through white possessiveness:

28. Anthro must contend with this reality that Audra Simpson so clearly lays out in her work: it is built entirely on the denial of Indigenous sovereignty. And Anthro relies on racial hierarchies that emerge with assertion of 'rational' western white christian 'Man' (Wynter 2003)

Important addition to this morning's twitter essay! I cited Colin Scott's 'Science for the West, Myth for the Rest?',but David kindly points me towards the crucial work of Stuart Hall here (which I will now go read!!!) https://uq.rl.talis.com/items/EE89C061-C776-4B52-0BA3-F1D9B2F87212.html https://twitter.com/davidnbparent/status/1074748042845216773 "

[unrolled here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1074624197639487488.html ]
zoetodd  2018  anthropology  cul;ture  sociology  socialsciences  colonialism  decolonization  capitalism  indigeneity  indigenous  law  joannebarker  sylviawynter  power  truth  freedom  treaties  constitutions  humanity  humanism  dehumanization  spain  portugal  españa  invalidation  thewest  hierarchy  hierarchies  colinscott  zakiyyahimanjackson  othering  rationality  biology  dispossession  colonization  audrasimpson  myth  myths  tradition  customs  aileenmoreton-robinson  property  possession  possessiveness  sovereignty  race  racism  stuarthall 
december 2018 by robertogreco
My Grandmother’s Shroud - The New York Times
"When my grandmother, my mother’s mother, died in late June in Nigeria, I was in Italy, at a conference. I wasn’t with her when she slipped into a coma or, three days later, when she died. When my brother told me the news, I called my mother and other members of my family to commiserate with them. She was buried the day of her death, in keeping with Muslim custom, and I couldn’t attend her funeral. My mother, visiting friends in Houston, would also miss the funeral.

I opened my computer and began to search my folders for pictures of my grandmother. On each yearly trip to Nigeria for the past several years, I went to see her in Sagamu, a town an hour northeast of Lagos, where she was born and where she lived for most of her life. On these visits, she would say: ‘‘Sit next to me. I want to feel your hands in mine. Be close to me. I want your skin touching mine.’’ I was always happy to sit with her and to hold hands with her. Afterward, I took photos. I have photos now of her alone, in selfies with me, in the company of my mother and my aunts. In these photos, she has surprisingly smooth skin, hardly any gray hair and, in most of them, a trace of amusement. In one, especially touching photo, my wife, Karen, applies polish to her nails.

To remain close to our dead, we cherish images of them. We’ve done so for millenniums. Think of the Fayum portraits, which show us the faces of Egyptians during the Imperial Roman era with stunning immediacy. Images — paintings, sculptures, photographs — remind us how our loved ones looked in life. But in most places and at most times, portraiture was available only to society’s elites. Photography changed that. Almost everyone is now captured in photographs — and outlived by them. Photographs are there when people pass away. They serve as reservoirs of memory and as talismans for mourning.

My grandmother was born in 1928. Her given name was Abusatu, but we called her Mama. Mama’s father, Yusuf, was a stern imam in Sagamu, and Yusuf’s father, Salako, was said to have been even more severe. But Mama herself was serene and good-natured, kind and tolerant. She was deeply consoled by her religion but not doctrinaire. Of her five daughters, two (including her firstborn, my mother) married Christians and converted to Christianity. It made no difference to Mama. The family had Muslims, Christians and some, like myself, who drifted away from religion entirely. Mama loved us all. An example of her unobtrusive kindness: While I was a college student in the United States, she sent me a white hand-woven cotton blanket. I never knew why and didn’t ask. But it is to this day the most precious piece of cloth I own.

I was leaving Rome when I received the sad news of Mama’s death. She was approaching 89. The end came swiftly, and she was surrounded by family. You could say it was a good death. But why couldn’t she have lived to 99, or to 109, or forever? Death makes us protest the fact of death. It makes us wish for the impossible. I could objectively understand that it was unusual to have had a grandmother in my 40s, and that my 67-year-old mother was equally fortunate in having had a mother so long. My father was 5 when his mother died, and he has been mourning her for longer than my mother has been alive. But the grieving heart does not care for logic, and it refuses comparisons. I mourned Mama as I left Italy for New York.

I mourned her but did not, or was not able to, weep. I arrived in New York in the late afternoon, perhaps at the very moment Mama was being interred. My mother had forwarded a couple of photos taken by my cousin Adedoyin to my wife’s WhatsApp. Karen reached for her phone and showed me the pictures. They were a shock. One was of Mama, dead on her hospital bed, wearing a flowery nightdress and draped in a second flowery cloth, the oxygen tube still taped to her nostrils. Her right arm was limp at her side, and she was not quite like someone asleep but rather like someone passed out, open and vulnerable. The other photograph, which seemed to have been cropped, showed a figure wrapped in a shroud, tied up with white twine, set out on a bed in front of a framed portrait: a white bundle in vaguely human shape where my grandmother used to be. I burst into sudden hot tears.

What did these photographs open? Imagination can be delicate, imposing a protective decorum. A photograph insists on raw fact and confronts us with what we were perhaps avoiding. There she is, my dear Mama, helpless on the hospital bed, and I cannot help her. Days later, I would find out from my mother that in this first photograph, Mama was still in a coma and not dead yet. But looking at the second photograph, the one in which she is incontrovertibly dead, my thoughts raced through a grim logic. I thought: Why have they wrapped her face up? Then I thought: It must be stifling under that thing, she won’t be able to breathe! Then I thought: She’s dead and will never breathe again. Then my tears flowed.

Mama’s life was hard. An itinerant trader of kola nut and later the owner of a small provisions shop, she was one of my late grandfather’s five wives and by no means the best treated. She never went to school, and the only word she could write was her name, sometimes with the ‘‘s’’ reversed. But when Baba died more than 20 years ago, Mama moved out of his house and lived in the two-story house that my mother built her. She was a women’s leader, a kind of deaconess, at the local mosque. She went to parties, to market and to evening prayers. She lived in the security of her own house, in the company of her widowed second daughter, my aunt. In those later years, life became easier.

‘‘She has a single obsession,’’ my mother used to say, ‘‘and that’s her burial rites.’’ Mama insisted that she be buried the same day she died. ‘‘She’ll say, ‘And I must not be buried at the house,’ ’’ my mother said, ‘‘ ‘Because what’s rotten must be thrown out. And for seven days, food must be cooked and taken to the mosque and served to the poor.’ ’’ And most important, my mother said, Mama would reiterate that in a cupboard in the room next to the meeting room in her house was her robe, the one she must be buried in. It was of utmost importance to her to meet her maker wearing the robe with which she approached the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam.

The hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which she undertook in 1996, when she was 68, transfigured my grandmother. Through that journey, through her accomplishment of one of the central tenets of Islam, she sloughed off her old life and took on a new one, one that put her into a precise relationship with eternity. The year of her journey, thousands of Nigerian pilgrims were turned back, because of meningitis and cholera outbreaks. My grandmother was one of a few hundred who got through. When she returned from Mecca, many of her townspeople took to calling her ‘‘Alhaja Lucky.’’ And as though to fit the name, she wore the serene mien of someone who was under special protection.

My mother, an Anglican Christian, financed the journey, knowing what it would mean to her mother to fulfill this final pillar of the faith. But possibly, she had no idea how much it would mean. She anticipated the social satisfaction Mama would get from it but had not counted on the serious existential confirmation it provided.

In the last few years, I often thought of Mama’s pilgrimage robe. I thought about how fortunate she was to have something in her possession so sacred to her, something of such surpassing worth, that she wished to have it on when she met God. And she had her wish: Beneath the plain white shroud in which she was sheathed after she died was that simple pilgrimage robe.

I look at the various photographs from Alhaja Lucky’s last years on my computer. None of them really satisfy me. Many are blurry, most are banal. I really like only the ones of her hands: They remind me of her wish to have her hands touched by mine. But the photograph I cannot stop thinking about is the one Adedoyin took, of Mama in her funeral shroud. The image reminds me of newspaper photos of funerals in troubled zones in the Middle East: an angry crowd, a shrouded body held aloft. But Mama was not a victim of violence. She died peacefully, well past the age of 88, surrounded by family.

Nevertheless, the custom is connected. It is a reminder that the word ‘‘Muslim’’ — so much a part of current American political argument, and so often meant as a slur — is not and has never been an abstraction, not for me, and certainly not for millions of Americans for whom it is a lived reality or a fact of family. A lead headline in The New York Times just a few days after Mama’s burial read: ‘‘Travel Ban Says Grandparents Don’t Count as ‘Close Family.’ ’’ The headline was about travel restrictions on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Nigeria was not on the list, but the cruelty and absurdity of the policy was vivid. It felt personal.

On the night of Mama’s burial, I lay down to sleep in my apartment in Brooklyn. I couldn’t shake the image of my cousin’s photograph. I went into the closet and took out the white cotton blanket Mama sent me all those years ago. It was a hot night, high summer. I draped the blanket over my body. In the darkness, I pulled the blanket slowly past my shoulders, past my chin, over my face, until I was entirely covered by it, until I was covered by Mama."
2017  tejucole  photography  death  memory  nigeria  aging  relationships  hajj  islam  purpose  grief  mourning  grieving  customs  objects  textiles  immigration  us  policy  connection  families  tolerance  religion  acceptance  mecca  eternity  belief  spirituality  burial  life  living  change  transformation  talismans 
july 2017 by robertogreco
My Struggle with American Small Talk - The New Yorker
"“How’s it going?” I ask the barista. “How’s your day been?”

“Ah, not too busy. What are you up to?”

“Not much. Just reading.”

This, I have learned, is one of the key rituals of American life. It has taken me only a decade to master.

I immigrated to the United States in 2001, for college. I brought only my Indian experience in dealing with shopkeepers and tea sellers. In Delhi, where I grew up, commerce is brusque. You don’t ask each other how your day has been. You might not even smile. I’m not saying this is ideal—it’s how it is. You’re tied together by a transaction. The customer doesn’t tremble before complaining about how cold his food is. Each side believes the other will cheat him, and each remains alert. Tips are not required.

“God, Mahajan, you’re so rude to waiters!” Tom, an American friend, said, laughing, after he watched me ordering food at a restaurant, in the West Village, years ago. Considering myself a mild and friendly person, I was surprised. “You’re ingratiating!” I countered. Tom always asked servers how they were doing or complimented their shirts or cracked jokes about the menu. At the time, this seemed intellectually dishonest to me. Did he really care what they were wearing? Wasn’t he just expressing his discomfort about being richer than the person serving him? If you did this little number with everyone, was it genuine?

American life is based on a reassurance that we like one another but won’t violate one another’s privacies. This makes it a land of small talk. Two people greet each other happily, with friendliness, but might know each other for years before venturing basic questions about each other’s backgrounds. The opposite is true of Indians. At least three people I’ve sat next to on planes to and from India have asked me, within minutes, how much I earn as a writer (only to turn away in disappointment when I tell them). In the East, I’ve heard it said, there’s intimacy without friendship; in the West, there’s friendship without intimacy.

So, for years in America, I would shudder when reporting to the front lines to order coffee. It felt like a performance. I had a thick accent and people didn’t understand me and I was ashamed and I fumbled. I radiated an uncertain energy; sometimes baristas sensed this and wouldn’t try to talk to me, and then an insecure voice in my head would cry, “He’s racist!”

During these years in the small-talk wilderness, I also wondered why Americans valued friendliness with commerce so much. Was handing over cash the sacred rite of American capitalism—and of American life? On a day that I don’t spend money in America, I feel oddly depressed. It’s my main form of social interaction—as it is for millions of Americans who live alone or away from their families.

Everything is subject to analysis until it becomes second nature to you. Living in Brooklyn and then in Austin, Texas, I made coffee shops the loci of my movements. Meeting the same baristas day after day bred context, and I got practice. People no longer heard my name as “Kevin” or “Carmen,” though they still misheard “to go” as “to stay” and vice versa. I was beginning to assimilate. It felt good and didn’t seem fake anymore.

Still, sometimes, when I make small talk at cash registers, I am reminded of a passage from a novel called “The Inscrutable Americans,” which was popular in India in the nineteen-nineties. In the opening of the book, the scion of a hair-oil empire, Gopal, comes to the U.S. for college. When an immigration agent at J.F.K. asks, “How is it going?” Gopal replies the only way he knows:
I am telling him fully and frankly about all problems and hopes, even though you may feel that as American he may be too selfish to bother about decline in price of hair oil in Jajau town. But, brother, he is listening very quietly with eyes on me for ten minutes and then we are having friendly talk about nuts and he is wanting me to go.
"
communication  culture  smalltalk  2016  karanmahajan  commerce  capitalism  india  performance  society  customs  friendliness  honesty  intimacy  friendship 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Hayao Miyazaki- Nature, Culture, & Character on Vimeo
"A closer look at the storytelling techniques of one of Japan's greatest animation directors, Hayao Miyazaki. For non-commercial and educational purposes only.

Voiceover- Gacinta Moran, vimeo.com/user25329456
Editor- Zackery Ramos-Taylor

Music:
Joe Hisaishi-
"A Road to Somewhere"
"Day Of The River"
"The Sixth Station"

Footage:
Hayao Miyazaki- A Tribute (2014)- vimeo.com/102392560
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)- youtube.com/watch?v=0JEh8-py4WA
Inside Out Trailer #2 (2015)- youtube.com/watch?v=_MC3XuMvsDI
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)- DVD
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)- DVD
Ponyo (2008)- youtube.com/watch?v=_7fjxESbTU0, youtube.com/watch?v=YTrEECZhpL0
Princess Mononoke (1997)- youtube.com/watch?v=4OiMOHRDs14
Sailor Moon (1995-2000)- youtube.com/watch?v=RK4ZJWGfkYw
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)- youtube.com/watch?v=HchZQ1CAS3s
The Simpsons (1989- )- youtube.com/watch?v=R94Q6NhuS3A
Spritied Away (2001)- DVD
Toy Story 3 (2010)- youtube.com/watch?v=gscNB7ULFTA
The Wind Rises (2013)- youtube.com/watch?v=vh57zcmI3WQ, youtube.com/watch?v=gQIZVh60YpQ
Hayao Miyazaki in Conversation with Roland Kelts (2010)- youtube.com/watch?v=wZWmOYq3fX4 "
hayaomiyazaki  via:tealtan  animation  film  filmmaking  nature  culture  character  narrative  philosophy  spiritedaway  ponyo  princessmononoke  thewindrises  kiki'sdeliveryservice  2014  gacintamoran  zackeryramos-taylor  society  technology  civilization  children  tradition  storytelling  religion  totoro  myneighbortotoro  work  duty  culturalrehabilitation  self-sacrifice  endurance  customs  characterdevelopment  identity  gender  japan  japanese  studioghibli 
january 2015 by robertogreco
WRONG SIDE OF THE BORDER ("I didn't do anything wrong!")
"POHENEGAMOOK, Quebec — Michel Jalbert never imagined that his usual excursion to gas up at the cheapest place in town would land him in a Maine prison for five weeks and create an international incident. Even now, after U.S. officials finally released Jalbert on $5,000 bail and as he awaits his trial in U.S. District Court early next year, the spirit of cooperation that forms the social and economic fabric of this Canadian border town remains frayed.

People who once thought they had written permission to cross briefly into Maine to buy gasoline without visiting U.S. Customs now worry about the risk to save 20 cents a gallon. Pohenegamook is a mostly French-speaking community where houses and families straddle the border and logging trucks barrel out of the Maine woods to feed the town's thriving lumber industries. But now its residents are rethinking their habit of comfortable coexistence with their American neighbors. The fallout has even reached the four Mainers who live at the edge of Pohenegamook and count on the town for utility services, snow plowing and trash collection.

Jalbert's arrest and imprisonment made headlines across Canada for weeks and inspired an outpouring of moral and financial support from people in both countries. It raised speculation that he was singled out as an example to all border scofflaws in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Canada on the day of Jalbert's release, calling the ordeal an "an unfortunate incident" and promising future fairness for Canadians who cross the border regularly for gas and other errands. Still, Jalbert's treatment raised questions about the logic and fairness of customs and immigration operations at Maine's northernmost outpost.

The toll on Jalbert has been severe. A part-time woodsman, Jalbert ran up more than $5,000 in telephone bills, legal fees and lost wages while being held in Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft. He suffered depression and anxiety attacks and lost 10 pounds while separated from his common-law wife, Chantail Chouinard, 26, who is five months pregnant, and their 5-year-old daughter, Debbie. There were days, alone in his cell, when he sobbed in despair.

The 32-year-old Jalbert returned home Nov. 14 to his family's cozy rented bungalow set back from busy Route 289. With temperatures in the teens and more than a foot of snow on the ground, his work in the woods is finished until spring. Last Sunday he had his first good night's sleep in more than a month. … "
2002  border  quebec  maine  immigration  customs  borders  law  legal  homelandsecurity  us 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Writing Live Fieldnotes: Towards a More Open Ethnography | Ethnography Matters
"I just returned from fieldwork in China. I’m excited to share a new way I’ve been writing ethnographic fieldnotes, called live fieldnoting…

At one point in time, all ethnographers wrote their notes down with a physical pen and paper. But with mobiles, laptops, iPads, and digital pens, not all ethnographers write their fieldnotes. Some type their fieldnotes. Or some do both. With all these options, I have struggled to come up with the perfect fieldnote system…

…the problem with a digital pen, notebook, and laptop is that they are all extra things that have to be carried with you or they add extra steps to the process…

I still haven’t found the perfect fieldnote system, but I wanted to experiment with a new process that I call, “live fieldnoting.” …

…updates everyday from the field. … compilation on Instagram, flickr, facebook, tumblr, and foursquare. I made my research transparent and accessible with daily fieldnotes. Anyone who wanted to follow along in my adventure could see…"
mobile  signs  research  flashbacks  moments  rituals  customs  location  travel  participatoryfieldnoting  socialfieldnoting  johnvanmaanen  ethnographymatters  rachelleannenchino  jennaburrell  heatherford  jorisluyendijk  gabriellacoleman  janchipchase  lindashaw  rachelfretz  robertemerson  photography  iphone  china  noticing  observation  transparency  2012  foursquare  tumblr  facebook  flickr  instagram  triciawang  howwework  process  wcydwt  notetaking  designresearch  fieldnoting  fieldnotes  ethnography  ritual 
august 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Snowfall, Helsinki
"There is a very distinct urban process going on here: clearing snow from Helsinki's roofs before it falls unpredictably or loads roofs with too much weight. According to Helsinki Times, these men are often Estonians, & known as 'snowdroppers', & carefully crawl over the roofs of Helsinki's elegant city-centre buildings, creating miniature controlled avalanches onto the cordoned-off street below.<br />
<br />
Outside of the centre this is sometimes done with amateurs, which sounds unbelievably dangerous. I like the Helsingen Sanomat's pithy note of caution:<br />
<br />
"It is dangerous enough when the snow comes down unexpectedly on people's heads - please do not add to the danger by coming down with it."<br />
<br />
As a kind of impromptu urban performance, it's strangely compelling to watch. It's a great sound too—the clatter-and-scrape of hammers and shovels loosening the ice & snow, and the gentle whump as the snowfall hits the street below some seconds later. But again, it wasn't a day for hanging around."
helsinki  finland  snowdropping  snowdroppers  urban  cityofsound  danhill  snow  winter  cities  customs 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Taryn Simon, Strange Cargo at Kennedy Airport - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com
"These images are from a set of 1,075 photographs — shot over five days last year for the book and exhibition, ‘‘Contraband’’ — of items detained or seized from passengers or express mail entering the United States from abroad at the New York airport. The miscellany of prohibited objects — from the everyday to the illegal to the just plain odd — attests to a growing worldwide traffic in counterfeit goods and natural exotica and offers a snapshot of the United States as seen through its illicit material needs and desires."
contraband  food  travel  nyc  jfk  airport  collections  tarynsimon  photography  security  customs 
august 2010 by robertogreco
When Is It Socially Acceptable to Share Food? | Serious Eats
"With certain friends, ordering repeats is not, under any circumstances, allowed at a meal. Two enchilada orders? Dear heavens, is this some kind of sick joke? Talk about a waste of another sharable dish. For others, sharing food is like sharing gum or toothbrushes. You kind of just don't go there, whether for germ-phobic or territorial reasons. The spectrum ranges from full plate-sharers to nibble-sharers to that food is freakin' mine, step off, anti-sharers.

Of course food-sharing varies by culture and upbringing, but for many Serious Eaters, the pro-smörgåsbord mentality allows you to try many things. (Though we can probably all agree that it's not cool to offer someone a taste, only to have them snatch it up like it's their last supper.) Where do you stand? And how do you handle the issue diplomatically?"
food  sharing  customs  culture  etiquette  tcsnmy  offcampustrips  glvo 
august 2009 by robertogreco
The Technium: Ethnic Technology
"It is puzzling why a particular technology does not spread everywhere throughout the world once invented. Why didn’t the plow, for instance, or backstrap looms, or the buttress arch, or any number of thousands of ancient inventions spread to all parts of the world once they had been refined? If they were truly advantageous, why would not their benefits ripple through a culture at the speed of news? After a century or two, any worthwhile invention should be able to cross a mountain or valley. We know from archeological remains that trade moved steadily, while innovations did not. Instead the spread of technology has always been uneven, even among places with similar resources, geography, climate and culture. It is very common for an innovation to be held up in one place and not cross into another region even as other innovations overtake it on the same route. It is almost as if technology had an ethnic dimension."
kevinkelly  technology  culture  anthropology  history  psychology  ethnicity  identity  innovation  craft  groups  customs 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Nueva normativa de aduanas en Chile facilita ingreso de productos tecnológicos - FayerWayer
"El Servicio Nacional de Aduanas de Chile desde el 30 de septiembre actualizó lo que considera “equipaje” y ahora se pueden entrar “computadores nuevos y usados” sin mayores problemas."
chile  travel  law  electronics  aduanas  customs 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Adam Greenfield’s Speedbird - "What we call morality began in the mores, the life-conserving customs, of the village. When these primary bonds dissolve,...
"when intimate visible community ceases to be a watchful, identifiable, deeply concerned group, then the “We” becomes a buzzing swarm of “I’s,” and secondary ties & allegiances become too feeble to halt the disintegration of the urban community"
adamgreenfield  urban  urbanism  morality  cities  humanity  society  etiquette  customs  bonds  community  comments 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Volví!
""I try to picture in my mind one of those big magazine advertisements from the forties, with the cursive lettering, where a smiling woman's face is telling me "Relax... You're on Argentime!" And immediately I feel better."
argentina  customs  holidays  christmas  buenosaires  time  society  maciejceglowski  maciejcegłowski 
january 2008 by robertogreco
210 - French Kissing Map « strange maps
"Unlike more reserved nationalities, the French greet each other with kisses on the cheek – but the practice varies to the point where one risks l’embarras social when the kisser has another number of pecks on the cheek in mind than the kissee."
cartography  france  french  geography  maps  mapping  kissing  culture  customs  visualization  social  society 
december 2007 by robertogreco
JEANSNOW.NET -- How to Wrap with a Furoshiki
"Great graphic from the Ministry of the Environment that shows how to wrap something with a traditional furoshiki cloth (or any cloth, for that matter). You can download a larger PDF version here."
japan  infographics  howto  furoshiki  culture  tradition  customs 
august 2007 by robertogreco
Bit by bit, the best of Just for Laughs
"I went to my high school reunion a while back, which was weird because I was home schooled." - Zach Galifianakis
humor  homeschool  jokes  education  learning  society  customs  zachgalifianakis 
july 2007 by robertogreco
List of faux pas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"the following list contains useful generalized information about ways that one might breach social expectations in various countries."
advice  behavior  business  culture  international  customs  etiquette  travel  society  world  wikipedia  vacation  language  rules 
november 2006 by robertogreco

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