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Series: Vernon Series in Anthropology

Documentary as Autoethnography: A Case Study Based on the Changing Surnames of Women

Hande Çayır, İstanbul Yeni Yüzyıl Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Turkey

April 2020 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-759-8
Availability: In stock
116pp. ¦ $39 £29 €33

In a system where my identity, that is to say, my surname, was taken from me when I got married, an act supported by both the state and families, I simply became a wife. When I refused both that stereotype and the marital surname, I became curious about other women’s decisions. I made a politically-grounded documentary promoting individual power and shared it via old and new media. The seventeen-minute documentary Yok Anasının Soyadı (Mrs. His Name, 2012), a form of self-narrative that places the self within a social context, had an impact on the community and created a collaborative meaning. My filmmaking experience spread the seeds, gave birth to this book, created a researcher—me, in this case—and as such, ‘theory in practice’ and ‘practice in theory’ go hand-in-hand. Women in Turkey are legally required to change their surnames when they marry and divorce. If they want to continue using their ex-husband’s surname after the divorce, they must seek permission from both him and the state. Has this unfair policy affected women financially? Has the forced surname change been a barrier for women’s careers? What about the protection of equal legal, social and economic rights? Autoethnographic researchers analyse their subjectivity and life experiences, in which they treat the self as ‘other’. This examination of social-cultural structures also calls attention to the issues of power. The interdisciplinary nature of this enquiry highlights the crucial human rights debate of the link between surnames and identity, and also focuses on the feminist maxim ‘the personal is political’. In short, the private inevitably became public in a process that bridged the autobiographical, personal, cultural, social and political. I believe that eventually—through this process—my story became (y)ours. 

Humor, Psyche, and Society: A Socio-Semiotic Analysis

Arthur Asa Berger, San Francisco State University

May 2020 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-808-3
Availability: In stock
140pp. ¦ $42 £32 €36

It is the age-old saying that “laughter is the best medicine”. Scientific research has substantiated the claim made by this proverb by verifying the positive effects it has on both our mind and body, but what is it about a good joke, comic, or sitcom that makes us laugh? Humor, Psyche and Society is a compilation of Berger’s previously published articles and new chapters on the nature of humour, its importance for our psyches, and its social and political significance. Written in an accessible style, it uses semiotics, psychoanalytic theory, sociological theory, as well as other theories of humour to explore the multifaceted nature of humour, various styles of jokes and sitcoms. Using Berger’s typology of forty-five techniques found in all forms of humour, developed to explain what makes us laugh, this book analyses a variety of humorous texts. Balancing theory, entertaining jokes and other humorous texts, as well as the author’s illustrations, the chapters in this book delve into a diverse range of topics such as humour and the creative process, humour and health, and visual humour; along with an examination of the sitcoms Frasier and Cheers; and finally, the exploration of jokes including Jewish jokes, and jokes on Russia and Communism, and Trump. This book will be of particular interest to university students studying courses in humour, comedy, popular culture, applied semiotics, American politics and culture, and cultural studies. Due to the accessible nature of this book, the general public may find it to be both a fascinating and entertaining read.

Post-Industrial Precarity: New Ethnographies of Urban Lives in Uncertain Times

Edited by Gillian Evans, University of Manchester

November 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-768-0
Availability: In stock
240pp. ¦ $59 £44 €50

The United Nations predicts that by the year 2050 almost 70% of the planet’s population will be living in cities. The onus on social scientists is to explain the contemporary challenges posed by the urbanization of the world. A growing body of literature raises the alarm about the precarity of human existence in the uncertain conditions of rapidly transforming contemporary cities. This volume brings together a diverse collection of new ethnographies of precarious lives in various cities of the world. The specific focus on post-industrial cities in the UK allows for a wider consideration of the urban conditions and the political and economic climates which combine to produce extremely precarious living conditions for urban populations elsewhere in the world.The productive consequence of the comparisons and contrasts of various urban contexts, made possible by the volume, is an analytical focus on what it means for humans to live and occupy different subject positions under the advancing conditions of contemporary global capitalism. The volume’s chapters are also united by the shared commitment of early career social science scholars to ethnography as a research method. This gives a common methodological focus to diverse topics of substantive concern located in various cities of the world from Manchester, Newcastle and Salford in the north of England, to Detroit in the USA, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Turin in Italy and Beirut in Lebanon. Ethnography, relying as it does on long-term participant observation and in-depth open-ended interviewing, is uniquely valuable as a resource for bringing to life the unpredictable ways in which humans survive and develop forms of resilience among, for example, the ruins of dying cities. Ethnography also enables social scientists to understand and add depth to the surprising stories and apparent contradictions of everyday protest in the face of the increasing privatization of the public good and extreme inequalities of wealth. Ethnographically grounded analyses of urban life are therefore uniquely positioned to explain and critically analyse the new politics of popular resistance as the people who feel ‘left behind’ by society, or expelled from what might be described as the ‘exclusification’ of urban environments, push back against an economy and politics that appears to exist only for the private benefit of an indifferent elite population.

Post-Industrial Precarity: New Ethnographies of Urban Lives in Uncertain Times

Edited by Gillian Evans, University of Manchester

November 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-871-7
Availability: In stock
240pp. [Color] ¦ $89 £66 €75

The United Nations predicts that by the year 2050 almost 70% of the planet’s population will be living in cities. The onus on social scientists is to explain the contemporary challenges posed by the urbanization of the world. A growing body of literature raises the alarm about the precarity of human existence in the uncertain conditions of rapidly transforming contemporary cities. This volume brings together a diverse collection of new ethnographies of precarious lives in various cities of the world. The specific focus on post-industrial cities in the UK allows for a wider consideration of the urban conditions and the political and economic climates which combine to produce extremely precarious living conditions for urban populations elsewhere in the world.The productive consequence of the comparisons and contrasts of various urban contexts, made possible by the volume, is an analytical focus on what it means for humans to live and occupy different subject positions under the advancing conditions of contemporary global capitalism. The volume’s chapters are also united by the shared commitment of early career social science scholars to ethnography as a research method. This gives a common methodological focus to diverse topics of substantive concern located in various cities of the world from Manchester, Newcastle and Salford in the north of England, to Detroit in the USA, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Turin in Italy and Beirut in Lebanon. Ethnography, relying as it does on long-term participant observation and in-depth open-ended interviewing, is uniquely valuable as a resource for bringing to life the unpredictable ways in which humans survive and develop forms of resilience among, for example, the ruins of dying cities. Ethnography also enables social scientists to understand and add depth to the surprising stories and apparent contradictions of everyday protest in the face of the increasing privatization of the public good and extreme inequalities of wealth. Ethnographically grounded analyses of urban life are therefore uniquely positioned to explain and critically analyse the new politics of popular resistance as the people who feel ‘left behind’ by society, or expelled from what might be described as the ‘exclusification’ of urban environments, push back against an economy and politics that appears to exist only for the private benefit of an indifferent elite population.

Nomads of Mauritania

Diane Himpan Sabatier and Brigitte Himpan

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-456-6
Availability: In stock
552pp. ¦ $71 £53 €60

Nomads of Mauritania aims at understanding the cultural identity (religious beliefs, language, values, relationships with others) of the Mauritanian nomads through their geographical environment, an original history, their lifestyle, caste system, diet, housing and crafts and how it is revealed by their art, materially expressed on the everyday objects and the body and defined for the first time as geometrical-abstract and respectively as ephemeral usual art and ephemeral living art. Furthermore, what has become of the nomads of Mauritania with the climate warming and the economic and cultural globalization and to what extent are they still the pillars and heart of the Mauritanian society of today?

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