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Humans, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 7 articles

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23 pages, 6327 KiB  
Essay
“Creative Anthropology” as a Unit for Knowing: Epistemic Object and Experimental System in Research-Creation “in” Clay
by Yanik Potvin
Humans 2024, 4(1), 108-130; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010007 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1677
Abstract
This essay takes advantage of the current context of superdiversity to define a form of hybrid heuristics between North American anthropology and research-creation “in” the arts. In an attempt to alleviate the epistemological disaster described by Gregory Bateson as the loss of the [...] Read more.
This essay takes advantage of the current context of superdiversity to define a form of hybrid heuristics between North American anthropology and research-creation “in” the arts. In an attempt to alleviate the epistemological disaster described by Gregory Bateson as the loss of the unity of the biosphere and humanity, I position myself within a nomothetic perspective of Boasian anthropology and a postqualitative approach to research-creation. My research-creation proposes clay as an epistemic object and develops a creative methodology in the form of an experimental system that borrows from the following two types of change observable in living organisms: static and schismatic changes. The artistic activities, presented as two heuristic cycles, seek to broaden the self-reflexivity inherent in the use of clay by human groups. They provoke decentring leading to a loss of control where a new identity has to be defined. This reveals itself in terms of system thinking as the reconstruction of a new reality that is defined neither entirely by my artistic practice nor entirely by my theoretical framework derived from anthropology. It is a “place of passage” between both. It is a new identity that can be defined by the “change of change” that I call “creative anthropology”. This transdisciplinary approach introduces a “second glance” into anthropological research and opens up breaches through research-creation. It works to develop new narratives and test posthumanism in the field of my artistic practice. Full article
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17 pages, 312 KiB  
Article
Husserlian Neurophenomenology: Grounding the Anthropology of Experience in Reality
by Charles D. Laughlin
Humans 2024, 4(1), 91-107; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010006 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Anthropology has long resisted becoming a nomothetic science, thus repeatedly missing opportunities to build upon empirical theoretical constructs, choosing instead to back away into a kind of natural history of sociocultural differences. What is required are methods that focus the ethnographic gaze upon [...] Read more.
Anthropology has long resisted becoming a nomothetic science, thus repeatedly missing opportunities to build upon empirical theoretical constructs, choosing instead to back away into a kind of natural history of sociocultural differences. What is required are methods that focus the ethnographic gaze upon the essential structures of perception as well as sociocultural differences. The anthropology of experience and the senses is a recent movement that may be amenable to including a partnership between Husserlian phenomenology and neuroscience to build a framework for evidencing the existence of essential structures of consciousness, and the neurobiological processes that have evolved to present the world to consciousness as adaptively real. The author shows how the amalgamation of essences (sensory objects, relations, horizons, and associated intuitions) and the quest for neural correlates of consciousness can be combined to augment traditional ethnographic research, and thereby nullify the “it’s culture all the way down” bias of constructivism. Full article
25 pages, 402 KiB  
Article
Speaking Truth to Power: Toward a Forensic Anthropology of Advocacy and Activism
by Donovan M. Adams, Juliette R. Bedard, Samantha H. Blatt, Eman Faisal, Jesse R. Goliath, Grace Gregory-Alcock, Ariel Gruenthal-Rankin, Patricia N. Morales Lorenzo, Ashley C. Smith, Sean D. Tallman, Rylan Tegtmeyer Hawke and Hannah Whitelaw
Humans 2024, 4(1), 66-90; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010005 - 14 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1931
Abstract
Over the years, the field of forensic anthropology has become more diverse, bringing unique perspectives to a previously homogeneous field. This diversification has been accompanied by recognizing the need for advocacy and activism in an effort to support the communities we serve: marginalized [...] Read more.
Over the years, the field of forensic anthropology has become more diverse, bringing unique perspectives to a previously homogeneous field. This diversification has been accompanied by recognizing the need for advocacy and activism in an effort to support the communities we serve: marginalized communities that are often overrepresented in the forensic population. As such, forensic anthropologists see the downstream effects of colonialism, white supremacy, inequitable policies, racism, poverty, homophobia, transphobia, gun violence, and misogyny. Some argue that advocacy and activism have no place in forensic anthropological praxis. The counterarguments for engaging in advocacy and activism uphold white, heterosexual, cisgender, and ableist privilege by arguing that perceived objectivity and unbiased perspectives are more important than personally biasing experiences and positionality that supposedly jeopardize the science and expert testimony. Advocacy and activism, however, are not new to the practice of anthropology. Whether through sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, or other areas of biological anthropology, activism and advocacy play an important role, using both the scientific method and community engagement. Using a North American approach, we detail the scope of the issues, address how advocacy and activism are perceived in the wider discipline of anthropology, and define ways in which advocacy and activism can be utilized more broadly in the areas of casework, research, and education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Concerns and Considerations in Forensic Anthropology)
16 pages, 286 KiB  
Essay
System Intertwining and Immigration Action Plans: The Case of a Provincial Funding Program in Quebec (Canada)
by Jorge Frozzini
Humans 2024, 4(1), 50-65; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010004 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 799
Abstract
The ability of political power to be deployed on several levels of governance is a key element of public administration, insofar as it enables the various needs of the population to be met. However, conflicts of competence, jurisdiction or vision can arise when [...] Read more.
The ability of political power to be deployed on several levels of governance is a key element of public administration, insofar as it enables the various needs of the population to be met. However, conflicts of competence, jurisdiction or vision can arise when it comes to articulating these different levels of management or intervention, particularly when policies with a broader scope are applied to local situations, thus proving ill suited to the realities experienced on the ground. This essay, with an example in the province of Quebec, illustrates how the provincial and municipal levels of governance—each with differing visions and objectives—are confronted with dilemmas respecting the constraints imposed by their levels of government. Through a systemic point of view, I show how intertwining systemic levels can produce conflicts since each has its own logic. This is explained with the example of a text-based mediated organization conducted by the “Programme d’appui aux collectivités” (PAC). The essay also identifies some challenges faced by civil servants working at two different levels of government as well as the place of the idea of resilience, and proposes recommendations. Full article
16 pages, 924 KiB  
Article
Understanding through the Numbers: Number Systems, Their Evolution, and Their Perception among Kula People from Alor Island, Southeastern Indonesia
by Shiyue Wu and Francesco Perono Cacciafoco
Humans 2024, 4(1), 34-49; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010003 - 17 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 826
Abstract
This paper aims at documenting and reconstructing the linguistic processes generating and substantiating the use of number systems, numbers in general, elementary arithmetic, and the related concepts and notions among the Kula people from Alor Island, Southeastern Indonesia. The Kula is a Papuan [...] Read more.
This paper aims at documenting and reconstructing the linguistic processes generating and substantiating the use of number systems, numbers in general, elementary arithmetic, and the related concepts and notions among the Kula people from Alor Island, Southeastern Indonesia. The Kula is a Papuan population from the Alor–Pantar Archipelago (Timor area). The name of their language, Kula (or Kola), corresponds to the ethnonym. The language is, currently, endangered and not completely documented. At the level of linguistic features, numeral systems and the terms for numerals from Eastern Alor exhibit, to some extent, unique characteristics, if compared to other languages spoken in other sectors of the island. Therefore, the Kula numbering system is not only significant at the lexicological and lexicographic level, but also represents the essential role of cognitive strategies (e.g., the choice of the base for the numbering systems and the visual representation of counting with the aid of actual ‘objects’, like hands and fingers) in the coinage of numerical terms among the local speakers. Indeed, the development of numeral systems reflects the evolution of human language and the ability of humans to construct abstract numerical concepts. The way numerals are encoded and expressed in a language can impact the patterns according to which numerical notions are conceptualized and understood. Different numeral systems can indicate variations in cognitive processes involving notions of quantities and measurements. Therefore, the structure and characteristics of a numeral system may affect how numeral concepts are mentally represented and developed. This paper focuses on the number system of the Kula people and the lexical units used by the local speakers to indicate (and to explain) the numbers, with the related concepts, notions, and symbolism. The investigation delves into the degrees of abstraction of the Kula numeral system and tries to ascertain its origins and reconstruct it. Moreover, the article applies to the analysis a comparative approach, which takes into account several Papuan and Austronesian languages from Alor Island and Eastern Timor, with the dual aim of investigating, at a preliminary level, a possible common evolution and/or divergent naming processes in local numbering systems and their historical–linguistic and etymological origins. Full article
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12 pages, 389 KiB  
Hypothesis
Unintentional Evolution: The Rise of Reciprocal Altruism
by Sergio Da Silva and Sergio Bonini
Humans 2024, 4(1), 22-33; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010002 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1871
Abstract
In this study, we propose a groundbreaking hypothesis for the evolution of reciprocal altruism, suggesting its emergence from random encounters characterized by theft rather than the traditionally accepted cooperative reciprocation and intertemporal choice. We challenge the conventional theory, critiquing its circular reasoning that [...] Read more.
In this study, we propose a groundbreaking hypothesis for the evolution of reciprocal altruism, suggesting its emergence from random encounters characterized by theft rather than the traditionally accepted cooperative reciprocation and intertemporal choice. We challenge the conventional theory, critiquing its circular reasoning that presupposes cooperation to explain its own origin. Our approach posits that theft, when passively tolerated during times of abundance, does not negatively impact survival and reproduction. This leads to a novel understanding of cooperation as a form of “tolerated theft”. To support our theory, we developed a Python-based simulation model that succinctly demonstrates how this mechanism could operate. Our key finding is that in environments where theft is tolerated, offspring may evolve to overlook such acts, eventually emerging as reliable reciprocators in times of scarcity. This hypothesis, while potentially controversial due to its originality, opens up new perspectives on the accidental evolution of reciprocal altruism and encourages a reevaluation of the fundamental mechanisms driving cooperative behaviors. Full article
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21 pages, 362 KiB  
Essay
A Reflection on Paradoxes and Double Binds in the Workplace in the Era of Super-Diversity
by Daniel Côté
Humans 2024, 4(1), 1-21; https://doi.org/10.3390/humans4010001 - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Occupational health and safety (OHS) is a largely technical field, still guided by a biomedical model of health that seeks to isolate factors that cause injury. Despite a growing literature on organisational and managerial factors influencing occupational health, their full integration into the [...] Read more.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) is a largely technical field, still guided by a biomedical model of health that seeks to isolate factors that cause injury. Despite a growing literature on organisational and managerial factors influencing occupational health, their full integration into the OHS concept has been slow. A broader understanding is still needed to recognise the restructuring of work and the link between well-being at work and management style. In the context of a rapidly changing world of work, increasing workforce diversity, and inequality, OHS needs to take account of the social sciences and humanities to broaden its reductionist vision. Occupational illnesses, distress, and suffering, especially in relation to relational or organisational issues, have no initial cause or specific ontology; they result from a long-standing process or repetitive relational pattern that needs to be exposed and understood in greater depth, considering contextual factors and dynamics. Using the authors’ anthropological backgrounds and the basic principles of the double bind theory developed many decades ago by Gregory Bateson and his colleagues at the Palo Alto School of Communication, we propose a reflection on pragmatic paradoxes or double bind situations in the workplace (which can be briefly defined as the presence of contradictory or conflicting demands or messages), their potential impact on workers’ health and well-being, and how to resolve them. This paper sought to explore the world of pragmatic paradoxes and double binds by discussing different categories, types, or forms of paradoxes/double binds that occur in the context of occupational health and their underlying mechanisms. It also includes a discussion of the possible link to the concept of super-diversity, as it too is associated with migration channels, employment, gendered flows, and local systems. Finally, we discuss the practical implications of this understanding for health professionals, researchers, and policymakers, from a perspective of promoting more holistic and context-sensitive interactional approaches to occupational health. Full article
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