Online Journal of Anthropology

volume 9, number 1, 2013

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Il Tempo Fermo. Le funzioni destorificanti del simbolismo
by MARCO MENICOCCI

Nelle usuali concezioni mito e rito formano, insieme, uniti come termini complementari, l’elemento costitutivo di una religione: il mito sarebbe ciò in cui si crede mentre il rito sarebbe ciò che occorre fare. Il primo giustificherebbe il secondo e questo, a sua volta, presupporrebbe una teoria, o “credenza”, in grado di conferire valore alle esecuzioni. Perfino l’aspetto morale potrebbe essere ridotto a questi due elementi, come è sovente accaduto nell’interpretazione delle “religioni primitive”.

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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Gene Diversity Analysis and Microdifferentiation Process in North Indian Muslim Populations
by RUQAIYA HUSSAIN, AHSANA SHAH, MOHD FAREED, MOHAMMAD AFZAL

Indian population is well known for its genetic diversity, ethnicity and microdifferentiation process. The present work deals with the distribution of A1A2BO, Rh (D), PTC tasting ability and Red green Colorblindness to study the genetic structure, fitness and microdifferentiation process among different Muslim populations of North India. We have undertaken a survey of the gene frequencies of the four markers in six endogamous groups: Syed, Sheikh, Pathan, Ansari, Qureshi and Saifi. For A1A2BO only, the Syed and Ansari showed significant differences while other combinations showed nonsignificant values. All the populations showed nonsignificant differences for the PTC marker except Pathans of which interpopulational differences were seen. Pooled heterozygosity was highest for A1A2BO being 0.6899 and lowest for Colorblindness, 0.0727. The average of the DST and GST values for the four markers were found to be 0.00698 and 0.0176, respectively. A dendrogram was constructed using the UPGMA and NJ clustering method. It shows that Syed and Sheikh are the more recent populations, followed by Pathan, then Ansari and the oldest ones are Qureshi. The results of the genetic distance analysis can throw some light on origin, migration and genetic relationship among different endogamous groups of Muslim Populations.

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HISTORY OF RELIGIONS

Colombo e la nudità dei “selvaggi”
by GILBERTO MAZZOLENI

Superato il fatidico “anno Mille”, una serie di eventi epocali hanno spinto l’Europa cristiana a guardarsi intorno e, per così dire, a dinamicizzarsi. La crisi del sistema di chiuse economie di corte e lo sviluppo delle entità comunali e marinare, l’incremento demografico e la richiesta diffusa di maggiori e più svariati consumi, la diminuita pressione dell’Islam e la riscoperta – mediata dagli stessi intellettuali arabi – dei valori del mondo classico, e così pure l’apprezzamento indiretto del più lontano Oriente, avevano sollecitato i Paesi dell’Europa cristiana a guardare ben al di là dei consueti confini e a confrontarsi in una gara espansivo-conoscitiva senza precedenti.

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SOCIOLOGY

Health Awareness Patterns
A Cross-Cultural Comparison between Muslim and Horizon Communities in Rajshahi Metropolitan City of Bangladesh

by AFZAL HOSSAIN

Health is one of the very important elements of human capital. The knowledge of health awareness enhances human being to get proper healthcare facilities all over the world. In Bangladesh health is one of the main fundamental rights of every citizen, which is ensured by the constitution. The present study, the author tried to find out health awareness patterns between the two communities (Muslim and Horizon). The purpose of the study was to examine and compare how health awareness knowledge influences on health outcomes between Muslim and Horizon communities. In this study, total number of 275 (150 for Muslim and 125 for Horizon) participants were interviewed by the author during April to July, 2012 in the Rajshahi Metropolitan City of Bangladesh. The simple random sampling technique was applied when sample size selected. Various statistical techniques were used during analyzed data with SPSS software in version 15. The present study showed that health awareness knowledge was greatly influence over the healthcare outcomes. The author found that Muslim community dominated the minor community (Horizon) in the various sphere of life. Most of the participants studied up to primary level which was 45.09%. 83.46% participants seemed that proper health awareness knowledge positively enhanced to get healthy life style. 49.10% participants seemed that communal destitution is existed to get educational attainment and take healthcare facilities. 87.28% participants argued that they were concern either permanent or temporary family planning methods. 79.35% participants showed their opinion that health awareness knowledge made conscious about primary diseases, how and where to take diagnosis and treatment of their suffering diseases. 83.23% participants expressed their fillings that health awareness and educational knowledge enhances to get better healthcare facilities and lead a better healthier life.

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Birth and the Evil Eye in the Amazigh Culture in Morocco: The Case of Ayt Merghad
by FATIMA GADDAR

During the last decades, many beliefs in the Moroccan culture have undergone profound changes. However, people’s attitudes towards the evil eye as a destructive power have not changed that much. The belief in its notion is still a significant aspect of the Amazigh culture which is the concern of the present study. Therefore, this paper seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon. On the one hand, with a special reference to the Ayt Merghad community, it provides a description of people’s attitudes towards this notion in relation to pregnancy and birth. On the other hand, it attempts to shed light on the different practices used in order to remove the effect of the evil eye in the target community. It can be concluded, that education has played a significant role in the way the evil eye is perceived and dealt with. However, the belief in its harmful effect is deeply rooted in the Ayt Merghad’s psyche.

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Community Condom Outlet. The Magical Man to Prevent HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh
by NASIR UDDIN, MAKSUDA KHATUN, MUSFIKUR RAHMAN, AFSANA AKTER

Bangladesh is believed to be a low HIV prevalent country although the potentiality of spreading HIV remains high because of several contributing factors. There is many sex –workers active with highest sexual contacts and partner exchange but low condom use by both sex workers and their clients expedite the prevalence significantly. There is a sizable population of men who have sex with men and hijra –those who usually do not use condom and consequently high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) prevailed in them. Stigma and discrimination against most at risk populations (MARPs) is the biggest hurdle to bring them under prevention services against HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh. Therefore Bangladesh is vulnerable to HIV/STI. Condom outlet is a gypsy platform in where most at risk peoples are getting free access to condom at their will. The paper attempts to identify the underlying role of community condom outlet for the prevention of HIV/STI in Bangladesh. Condom outlets are working as an inseparable volunteer under outreach service of HIV/STI prevention project through diversified role as monitor of peer educators, knowledge store of HIV/STI, conflict solver, shelter of peer, outreach worker as well as project staff to fight against HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh. The theoretical approach and literature review of this study provides an understanding of community condom outlet. The researchers try to answer the questions of who the community condom outlets are, what their lifestyle in preventing HIV / STI and how condom outlet are working with community for preventing HIV and STI. The qualitative research methods have adopted in this study. For the reliability and objectivity of data, cross-checking and triangulation techniques have applied. As this is a paper about the community condom outlet as well as their lifestyle and working nature, it obviously helpful for the development planners and policy makers to take essential steps for the prevention of HIV/STI in Bangladesh as well as rest of the world.

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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Prevalence of Under-nutrition among the Juangs. A study on a particularly vulnerable tribal group of Odisha, India
by MONALI GOSWAMI

This study is undertaken to determine the overall prevalence of under-nutrition based on body mass index (BMI) of the Juangs, a vulnerable tribal population of Odisha, India. A total of 414 adult males and 423 adult females (≥18 years) were considered for anthropometric data from fifteen villages under two blocks of Keonjhar district of Odisha, India. Height and weight were recorded and the body mass index (BMI) was computed using the standard equation. It is observed that the Juang males show relatively higher mean height and weight in comparison with the females. There is a significant sex difference of mean BMI (t=5.68; p<0.001) between the Juang males and females. Overall, the extent of under-nutrition (BMI<18.5 kg/m2) is found to be very high among the Juangs (N-481, 57.5%) which exhibits their poor nutritional condition especially of the women. This paper also provides strong evidence that, in general, tribal populations of Eastern India are experiencing serious or critical nutritional stress. Hence immediate appropriate nutritional intervention programs are needed for implementation among all these ethnic groups.

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

La mummia nelle farmacopee medioevali
by FEDERICO LUGLI

Le mummie non sono solamente corpi umani imbalsamati sopravvissuti allo scorrere del tempo ma appartengono anche al mondo della storia della medicina in quanto utilizzate come medicinale a partire dall’Età Medievale. Sono state sfruttate come rimedio ad un elevato numero di patologie e hanno ricoperto il ruolo di baluardo della scienza medica sino alla fine del XIX secolo. Molti autori antichi hanno trattato della mummia nelle loro farmacopee e, questa, si è lentamente diffusa presso il mondo europeo invadendo i mercati del Mediterraneo. Nei testi medici e anche possibile trovare tentativi piu solidi di giustificare le proprieta terapeutiche delle mummie, attribuendole alle spezie con cui tali corpi antichi sono stati imbalsamati. Con Paracelso e il suo principio del “simile cura simile”, la mummia divenne in grado di curare il corpo umano in quanto, essa stessa, parte di un corpo umano.

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La silenziosa protesta degli Hikikomori
by DARIO MELIGRANA

Hikikomori. Una parola decisamente esotica, che significa ritiro e che da una decina di anni a questa parte caratterizza un fenomeno sociale molto diffuso nel Giappone e che sembrerebbe non avere eguali nelle società Occidentali. Il termine “Hikikomori” è stato coniato dallo psichiatra Tamaki Saito e definisce, nello specifico, quel gruppo di adolescenti e giovani adulti (14-25 anni) che per un periodo superiore ai due mesi sceglie di non uscire di casa, isolandosi completamente dal mondo esterno, da amici e familiari.

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SOCIOLOGY

Socio-Economic factors influence the age at first marriage of Muslim women of a remote population from North-East India
by ANJALI HALOI, DHRUBA KUMAR LIMBU

The present cross sectional study was undertaken among the Assamese Muslim women of Kamrup district, Assam, one of the North-Eastern states of India with a view to understand the differences in the age at first marriage of women and socio-economic factors influencing it. The findings of the present study reveals that the age at marriage is negatively associated with the type of family i.e., the larger family type, lower is the mean age at marriage. The mean age at marriage is likely to increase with increase in maternal education and household income. However, the mean age at first marriage of Assamese Muslim women was found to be 19.40 ± 0.04 years in this population.

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

The Role of Art in Two Neighborhoods and Responses to Urban Decay and Gentrification
by GEOFFREY R. SKOLL, MAXIMILIANO KORSTANJE

One of the most troubling aspects of cultural studies, is the lack of comparative cases to expand the horizons of micro-sociology. Based on this, the present paper explores the effects of gentrification in two neighborhoods, Riverwest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA and Abasto in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Each neighborhood had diverse dynamics and experienced substantial changes in the urban design. In the former arts played a pivotal role in configuring an instrument of resistance, in the latter one, arts accompanied the expansion of capital pressing some ethnic minorities to abandon their homes. What is important to discuss seems to be the conditions where in one or another case arts take one or another path. While Riverwest has never been commoditized as a tourist-product, Abasto was indeed recycled, packaged and consumed to an international demand strongly interested in Tango music and Carlos Gardel biography. There, tourism served as an instrument of indoctrination that made serious asymmetries among Abasto neighbors, engendering social divisions and tensions which were conducive to real estate speculation and great financial investors. The concept of patrimony and heritage are placed under the lens of scrutiny in this investigation.

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SOCIOLOGY

The Ban of Non-Timber Forest Products collection effect on Soligas migration in Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, India
by MADEGOWDA C., C. USHA RAO

The livelihood of tribals depends on forest resources and they have been living in the forest from time immemorial. The major sources of income for the Soligas are from Non –Timber Forest Products, subsistence agriculture, and labour. The Non –Timber Forest Products collection was banned in 2006 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary and it affected the livelihood of the Soligas as they did not have any alternative employment. 32.5% of the Soligas migrated to different places of Kodagu, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, as well as to nearby coffee estates and villages for employment. Soliga families migrate from 10 to 300 days in a year which has affected the children’s education, culture, health etc. The migration continues due to the influences of outside culture and lack of employment opportunities in their areas. The study will focus on the problems faced after the ban of the NTFPs, places of migration, reasons for migration, number of days of migration, wage rates, size of male and female migrants, types of work, and income produced from the migration.

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ARCHAEOLOGY

The Invisible Hunger: Is Famine Identifiable from the Archaeological Record?
by JOHANNA MORGAN

Famine, as defined by an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term or cyclical) period of starvation, is identifiable in the historical period from written records and potentially with archaeological corroboration, but in prehistory other approaches must be employed. Several of these are discussed including studies of diet and nutrition, paleodemography, environmental catalysts, and funerary ritual. Despite a multifactorial analysis integrating palynology, dendrochronology, stable isotope analyses, osteoarchaeology, and social archaeology, difficulties in contemporizing paleodemographic events them with osteological assemblages are substantial enough that the detection of a famine is not possible solely from the archaeological record. More significant is the conclusion that all apparent indicators for acute or chronic starvation are also representative of epidemic disease. Because of this uncertainty, it is not possible to identify famine in prehistory.

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Space and Identity. A Study on the Tradition and Change of the Gujars of Himachal Pradesh
by DIPANKAR CHATTERJEE, ARNAB DAS

The unique life-ways of the ‘Gujar’ pastoral community of India have evoked significant interest in recent time as they are struggling hard to retain their cultural identity against the increasing pressure of different forces of change. The ‘Gujars’ are wedded to herding buffaloes since long past and nurturing a distinct socio-symbolic mosaic of their own. The contemporary observation on the community, which is in growing contact with the ‘modern’ neighbors and agencies, finds out the spatial orientation of the identity as much meaningful. Such space-oriented identity invokes significant intra-cultural concern in different contexts and processes of their lives. The paper, thus, explores the indigenous perception of the uses of space among the ‘Gujar’ of Himachal Pradesh and the meanings attributed to specific space/s by the people of different age groups. The primary construct of space, the extension of the construct to social relations and to the strategies of livelihood have become the contexts to discuss the sedentarization, which is partly enforced by the agencies. The resultant changes in lifestyles are seen to accompany transformation in self-perception and certain shifts of identity.

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MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Dementia and Epilepsy. Family and Kinship care Analysis
by RAVINDER SINGH, VIBHA SHARMA, UPMESH KUMAR

38 interviews of epilepsy patients and 22 interviews of care givers of Dementia (Alzheimer Disease) were conducted between August 2006 and July 2007 in neuropsychiatric hospital. The content analysis of these interviews is illuminated here in the paper. The cultural dimensions of epilepsy and dementia reveal social stigma, problems of marriage, school education and employment etc. in case of epilepsy as the main issues for the parents about it as disease, how do epilepsy patients being cared in home situations, who spend most of the caring time with the patients, family structure and composition are discussed; whereas in case of dementia the care givers discuss the strains in caring the dementia patients in the family. It recommends culturally appropirate interventions in such care and relevance of voluntary organizations in creating public awareness for such neuropsychiatric behavioral problems and they can act as the catalytic agents of mass awareness and change in rural areas of National Capital Region of Delhi (NCR Delhi).

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SOCIOLOGY

Community Participation in Disaster Management: Role of Social Work to Enhance Participation
by ANWAR HOSSAIN

Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable areas to natural disasters in the world. Almost every year different types of natural disasters occur in Bangladesh and destroy many lives and resources of people. Although it is not possible to prevent the occurrence of disasters influenced by natural causes, proper plan, management and human collective participation may minimize the natural disasters occurred. Bangladesh is no exception in this regard. However, the government of Bangladesh has adopted disaster management plans and programs with especial emphasis on community participation in disaster management cycle since her independence. Based on literature review this paper analyzes the approaches to disaster management and its institutional framework in Bangladesh, and also discusses the role of social work to ensure or enhance community participation in disaster management that may contribute to both anthropology and social work disciplines.

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Chirurgia estetica e “bello sociale” contemporaneo. Come la società contemporanea plasma se stessa
by DENISE CAPPADONIA

L’articolo che segue prende le mosse dalla necessità di comprendere le ragioni che spingono gli attori sociali – inscritti nella contemporaneità occidentale – a ricorrere alla chirurgia estetica al fine di corrispondere a un ideale prestabilito di bellezza fisica. Questo ideale (definito in questa sede “bello sociale”) appare diffuso in maniera massiccia dall’azione mediatica, non solo fra gli adulti, ma anche e forse soprattutto tra gli adolescenti e i bambini. Il bello sociale pervade, in maniera sempre diversa, la vita quotidiana di ogni individuo e, in questa prospettiva, tutti gli strumenti che conducono a esso acquistano valenza antropopoietica. In questa prospettiva, il chirurgo estetico opera al fine di raggiungere un ideale mediatico, che standardizza l’idea di bello e che riguarda in maniera sostanziale il genere femminile.

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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Biochemical Polymorphisms in Reddy Population of Visakhapatnam District in South India
by KONATHALA G. KUMARI, M. RAMESH, T. L. PATHI, G. SUDHAKAR

Introduction: The investigation of human blood genetic markers is a convenient tool to study genetic variation within and between human populations. The present investigation reports the variation in the distribution of some genetic markers (blood groups, plasma proteins and red cell enzymes) in Reddy, an endogamous population from State of Andhra Pradesh, India. Methods: Eighty venous blood samples collected from health and unrelated individuals living in Visakhapatnam city were used for typing eight genetic markers- two blood group systems namely ABO and Rh (D), four serum proteins which include Albumin (ALB), Haptoglobin (HP), Caeruloplasmin (CP), Group Specific Component (GC), and two red cell enzymes Esterase D (ESD), Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). The gene frequencies were estimated and goodness of fit between the observed and expected phenotype frequencies was also tested.
Results: The frequency of ‘A’ group is found to be predominant recording a frequency of 50% which was followed by ‘AB’ group with a frequency of 26.25. ‘O’ group shows the least frequency with 5%. The homogeneity test for goodness of fit between observed and expected phenotypes is statistically significant (χ² = 9.2037; d.f = 1; 0.01 > p > 0.001) in Reddy’s with respect to ESD system and HP system (χ² = 20.2780; d.f = 1; 0.001 > p) and non-significant with respect to GC system. The Caeruloplasmin (CP) and Albumin (ALB) locus were monomorphic in the present study. Conclusions: The results of these biochemical genetic markers were found to be in accordance with other populations of Andhra Pradesh.

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Indigenous Knowledge on Medicinal Plants among the Iruliga tribal population of Western Ghats areas, Karnataka, India
by GURUPRASAD S.L., N. NINGAIAH, M. R. GANGADHAR

This article is on the Folk and indigenous knowledge system of the tribal community of Western Ghats of Karnataka particularly on medicinal plants and their socio-economic dependence on the forests. There are numerous herbs available in their surrounding where the tribes are living and that herbs are used by the tribal communities as food and as medicine for curing their diseases. The traditional healers of Iruliga are having good knowledge on medicinal plants, we come across many species of medicinal plants used for common ailments. The traditional healers are on the decline because the younger members of the tribe have started moving towards the towns and cities and are not willing to practice this form of medicine. There is danger as the knowledge of these medicinal plants will also die with them therefore, it is necessary to document the plants and take efficient steps to conserve them.

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

The Tree of Life Design. From Central Asia to Navajoland and Back (With a Mexican Detour) – Part 1
by SANDRA BUSATTA

The Tree of Life design is thought to be originated in Central Asia possibly from shamanic cultures, and can be seen as a favorite pattern in many carpets and rugs produced in a huge area, from Afghanistan to Eastern Europe. From the Middle East, together with other Christian and Moorish designs, it was imported to Central America where it mixed with the local versions of Tree of Life. Traders who brought Oriental carpet patterns to be reproduced by Navajo weavers made it known to them, but it was only after the 1970s that the design has had a real success together with other pictorial rugs.

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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

The Colonization of Space. An Anthropological Outlook
by MORENO TIZIANI

The colonization of space implies an adaptation of both physical and cultural type. The human species is characterized by a great adaptive capacity that, in a basically extreme environment, reveals all its plasticity. However, this capacity must be aided by appropriate technological solutions that identify the problems related to long stays in space, and to long space voyages. Anthropology could aid future colonizers rethinking the environment of the spacecrafts, and the habitats of future colonies. Last but not least, anthropology can prepare them to a possible encounter with alien intelligences very different from human way of thinking.

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