Web Roundups

Monthly Web Round-up


It is important to consider the role that societal and institutional factors play in the relationship between ‘natural’ disasters and the causes of social suffering. It is too simple to call natural disasters ‘natural’, as they happen in a particular social and cultural context. When attempting to understand how and why natural disasters can cause social suffering, it must be remembered that due to differing social variables such as organizational structures, services available, and economies etc. people will be more or less vulnerable in the event that a ‘natural’ disaster occurs.

As anthropologists, it is important to encourage discussions about the various ways in which social adaptations [or maladaptations] to the natural environment will affect society and culture, and to continue to play a role in the global discussion about how natural disasters impact social suffering. – When God, nature and politics meet

  • Considers important questions such as “What does religion and theology have to do with hazards and risks in society?  In what ways does religious discourse shape how we perceive events that are often still interpreted as ‘Acts of God’?” and how these questions are can be understood within social and political contexts. – Channeling Margaret Mead: Photographs by Devin Tepleski

  • Features Devin Tepleski, Canadian photographer and filmmaker, captured photos of individuals standing in the Black Volta River in Ghana, before the expected construction of a hydroelectric dam would flood their village and in turn displace their community.

SfAA News – Anthropological Voice on the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

  • Barbara Rose Johnston offers a great article including links to information on issues relating to the ways in which the Fukushima nuclear accident will have an affect human health, from contaminating the food chain to exposure to radiation. – Anthropologists and stereotypes about Libya and Japan 

  • Questions how anthropologists interact with the media and the use of stereotypes to categorize human populations. – Japan: Looking ahead to recovery

  • On April 4, 2011, the Asia Society and the Japan Society co-sponsored a Japan town hall meeting in New York City focusing on the social implications of the recent earthquake. – The lessons of Fukushima 

  • Hugh Gusterson, ponders “what humans learn from their mistakes” and how the Tsunami triggered Fukushima nuclear accident will or will not change the way the general populace, as well as world governments, perceive danger relating to the use of nuclear power.

SAS Frontiers – Lessons from Chernobyl

Access Minnesota – Insight into the Middle East Uprisings 

  • William Beeman offers his insight into the uprisings in the Middle East. Anthropological Insights into the 2011 Uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East

  • Podcast from the 71st Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology in March-April 2011. – Food Prices and Uprisings

  • Looks at the relationship between food security and social unrest.

Tricia Redeker Hepner  – Human Tsunamis: Refugees and the Failure of Forced Migration Policy

  • Considers the challenges of  keeping other countries in the global ‘eye’ which are experiencing social crisis’s, amidst all of the other social and natural disasters occurring around the globe.

North American Dialogue – Coal Miners’ Slaughter: Corporate Power, Questionable Laws, and Impunity

  • Emily S. Channell discusses the Upper Big Branch coal mining accident in West Virginia, and the ways in which a man-made disaster can be sold as a natural one in the political perspective.

Medical Anthropology Quarterly – Down Cancer Alley: The Lived Experience of Health and Environmental Suffering in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor

  • Merrill Singer addresses social health and environmental impacts of the Gulf oil spill of 2010.

BIOETHICS – On Naming Names

  • Alice Dreger discusses the social and ethical issues related to the social context of naming names.

Global Bioethics Blog – Avoiding the Missionary Position

BBC Radio 4  – Plastic Surgery in Brazil 

  • Anthropologist Alex Edmonds discusses Brazil’s cosmetic surgery industry on “Thinking Allowed”.

BBC Radio 4 – Moral Maze

  • A debate on discussing the medicalization of misbehavior.

Bob Simpson – Ethical moments: future directions for ethical review and ethnography

  • An article confronting the problem of ethical review by committee and the challenges anthropological researchers may face when fitting ethnography of ‘social subjects’ into the ‘human subject research’ model.

Tobias Kelly – This Side of Silence: Human Rights, Torture, and the Recognition of Cruelty

  • A recommended read.

Margaret Lock – Twice Dead: Organ Transplants & the Reinvention of Death

  • A recommended read. –  Photographs and anonymity:keeping faces hidden, or not

  • Blogger considers anonymity and how this interacts with the ethics and politics of ethnography.


BBC News Business – Viewpoint:Anthropology meets technology

WIRED – The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet

  • Article considers the technological implications of individuals spending more time on the Internet using ‘apps’ from smartphones and iPads, rather than on the Web. – Academic Research in the Age of Facebook

  • Questions Internet applications such as Facebook, and its ability to ‘socially engineer’ the facebook page, and how that may change our online experience.

Discovery News – Are Humans Reshaping Earth?

  • Looks at the implications of humans awareness to the ways in which their behavior has influenced climate change.

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