In the Journals

In the Journals, August 2020, Part 1

Cultural Anthropology (Open Access)

Exhuming Dead Persons: Forensic Science and the Making of Post-fascist Publics in Spain (open access)

Jonah S. Rubin

Four decades after the fall of its dictator, Spain still refuses to undertake its legal and moral responsibilities to locate the disappeared. This essay examines how Spanish activists use forensic exhumations to transform the political status of Franco’s victims. Departing from popular and scholarly depictions of forensic science, I show that, in post-fascist Spain, the impact of exhumations has little to do with their ability to extract historical information directly from the bones of the exhumed. Instead, I argue that exhumations transform the disappeared into dead persons, thereby reincorporating them as integral participants in a democratic public sphere. For memory activists, the project of securing Spain’s democratic future depends on recognizing the personhood of long-excluded victims of fascist violence. Absent any official legal framework, I show how Spanish activists train laypersons to recognize the inherent dignity of the dead and see them as potential participants in an alternative democratic public.

Immigrant Sensibilities in Tech Worlds: Sensing Hate, Capturing Dissensus (open access)

Sareeta Amrute

Seattle and its environs are home to more than eighty tech companies, which have added 780,000 new jobs between 2014 and 2019. Along with these jobs comes increased immigration, especially from India and China. Some of Seattle’s Eastside areas now rank among the most diverse in the nation, even while the Pacific Northwest bears a legacy of white supremacist agitation. This essay explores the relationship between the Eastside’s tech industry, migration, and what the Attorney General’s Office of Washington State calls “hate incidents”—verbal attacks and harassment against minorities that do not rise to the level of hate crimes. I show how forms of evidence about hate incidents circulate in Asian immigrant communities. Victims of these hate incidences track evidence of racial bias simultaneously through material evidence, such as dog poop left on front lawns, and through organizing sense impressions to recognize a shouted slur as racially motivated. This sensory evidence falls below what Jacques Rancière calls a particular distribution of the sensible. I call these lost impressions “the sensate,” to capture how the theory of the senses developed by Rancière and others moves too quickly from distribution to dissensus. Instead, the idea of the sensate tracks the ways in which immigrants align, distance themselves from, and register the larger technical and economic scenes in which their lives unfold.

The City Otherwise: The Deferred Emergency of Occupation in Inner-City Johannesburg (open access)

Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon

This article draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Johannesburg between 2011 and 2019 in inner-city unlawful occupations and temporary emergency accommodation sites. These are often referred to as “hijacked buildings,” “bad buildings,” or “dark buildings.” However, they are also spaces of refuge, intimacy, and sociality for tens of thousands of South Africans and foreign nationals excluded from formal rental markets and often displaced by the drive for urban regeneration. This essay mobilizes two concepts to characterize these spaces. The first is the notion of the “city otherwise,” engaging Elizabeth Povinelli’s concept of “spaces of otherwise.” The residents of these occupations endure in spaces of emergence and potentiality. Furthermore, I argue that they exist in a juridical condition that I characterize as “the deferred emergency.” This condition entails the indefinite deferral of an emergency, framed around both the juridical and the infrastructural form of “temporary emergency accommodation” for the evicted.

Health, Risk and Society

Bottom-up meets top-down: exploring vapers’ accounts of risk in a context of e-cigarette controversies

Rikke Tokle

Framed both as a solution to and as an additional part of the tobacco problem, e-cigarettes have been the subject of risk controversies since they were launched in 2006, followed by massive divergence in media, public health approaches and regulations across the world. This study explores vapers’ risk perceptions and accounts of the public risk communication and regulation of e-cigarettes in a Norwegian context were nicotine-containing e-liquids are prohibited from being sold by domestic retailers. Based on analyses of semi-structured qualitative interviews (n = 30, 17 males) with adult vapers, I find that the participants emphasised three important dimensions related to risk. First, they perceived vaping as harm reduction by substituting for smoking. Second, they devalued much of the risk communication about e-cigarettes from Norwegian health authorities and media. Interlinked with their harm-reduction approach, they perceived the present regulation of nicotine e-liquid and vaporisers as increasing risk by decreasing their availability to smokers. Third, in general they preferred the lay expertise available online to the health authorities’ information on e-cigarettes. The analysis displays a lack of trust among the participants in what can be labelled as top-down information. Based on these dimensions, I conclude that the dissonance between vapers risk perceptions and the regulation and mixed messages in risk communication of e-cigarettes has contributed to their preference for bottom-up expertise. From the vapers’ point of view, e-cigarettes represent harm reduction, and the vaper community symbolises a bottom-up health movement where peer assistance compensates for a perceived lack of assistance from health authorities.

The perception gap: how the benefits and harms of cervical cancer screening are understood in information material focusing on informed choice

Gabriela Byskov Petersen , Christina Sadolin Damhus , Alexandra Brandt Ryborg Jønsson & John Brodersen

The benefits and harms of cervical cancer screening are delicately balanced, and in that sense, many argue that participation should be based on an informed choice. Information pamphlets play a central part in the process of obtaining informed consent from women, and therefore adequate communication about health and risk is essential. However, pamphlets on screening have been shown to be information poor and biased in favour of participation, and little attention has been paid to how the pamphlets are understood. The aim of this study was twofold: 1) to develop evidence-based information material on cervical cancer screening; and 2) to investigate how women understand and interpret this information. We carried out semi-structured interviews with 17 women aged 23–55 in two interview rounds. We analysed the transcribed interviews using meaning condensation theory, which we followed with a second order analysis guided by approaches to cognitive dissonance. Generally, we found that the newly developed information succeeded in presenting understandable health and risk information on cervical cancer screening. Participants, however, still sometimes struggled with understanding the numerical risk and their preconceptions about screening led them to focus on the benefits and downplay the harms. According to cognitive dissonance theory, our second finding points to the use of defence mechanisms which create a perception gap between the written information and the participants’ understanding of the information. We conclude by arguing that breaching the perception gap is necessary if we want to increase possibilities for making an informed choice about participation in cervical cancer screening.

International Journal of Social Psychiatry

Participatory video as a novel recovery-oriented intervention in early psychosis: A pilot study

Arlene G MacDougall, Sahana Kukan, Elizabeth Price, Sarah Glen, Richelle Bird, Laura Powe, Joshua C Wiener, Paul H Lysaker, Kelly K Andersonand Ross MG Norman 

Personal narrative plays an important role in the process of recovery from psychotic illnesses. Participatory video is a novel, active intervention that can be used as a tool for fostering narrative development among people with psychosis. To assess the feasibility, acceptability and potential clinical utility of participatory video as an innovative tool for promoting recovery in early psychosis.
Ten outpatients of an early psychosis intervention programme were recruited to participate in 13 biweekly workshops to plan, film and produce documentary-style videos of their experiences. Feasibility was measured through recruitment and retention. Acceptability was measured through workshop attendance and client satisfaction. Clinical outcomes were assessed at baseline, post intervention and 3 months post intervention. The participatory video intervention was feasible and associated with a high degree of satisfaction for participants who completed the workshops (n=6). At 3-month follow-up, participants exhibited significant reductions (p<.05) in tension, self-stigma and negative perceptions of hoped-for selves. The findings of this pilot study suggest that participatory video is feasible and acceptable for individuals with early psychosis. This study also provides important pilot data supporting a larger trial investigating the effectiveness of participatory video as a recovery-oriented intervention. 

Navigating COVID-19 with emotional intelligence

Mubashir Majid Baba

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. COVID-19 has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the widespread closure of schools, colleges and universities. The COVID-19 pandemic is also having a dramatic impact on societies and economies around the world. With various measures of lockdowns and social distancing in place, it becomes important to understand emotional intelligence of faculty members working in institutions of higher learning on a large scale in this pandemic. The purpose of this article is to examine the perception of faculty members toward their emotional intelligence during COVID-19 and to study the impact of demographic variables on their emotional intelligence. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The data for the study were collected through both the primary and secondary sources. Online questionnaires were used to gather the primary data. The measuring items used for the study were sourced from existing validated scales and literature. Descriptive statistics was employed to know the descriptive information across various demographic variables on a total sample of 683. The various demographic variables, which were considered for the study, were gender and designation. The results revealed that the faculty members perceived their emotional intelligence at an above-average level in the present pandemic, that is, COVID-19. The results also revealed that the perception of the respondent faculty members toward their emotional intelligence from different universities and states is more or less the same and also the demographic variable gender has a significant impact on emotional intelligence during the present pandemic. Besides having theoretical implications that open pathways for conducting further research, the findings of the study may serve as a reference for service practitioners in designing strategies that will ensure superior performance of faculty members in higher educational institutions during the pandemic.

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