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The revival of Lucanian wheat festivals
Lorenzo Ferrarini

This chapter is entirely composed of a photo essay, which includes photographs made between 2005 and 2020. It focusses on the revival of wheat rituals, which often involve offerings of ears of wheat dedicated to a saint or the Madonna. The photo essay connects this phenomenon with, on the one hand, processes of touristic promotion and heritagisation, and, on the other, with the shifting meanings acquired by the agricultural past in Basilicata, which give wheat festivals an aura of authenticity and nostalgia. The text and images go behind the scenes of the preparation of these rituals, tracing the way that past ethnographic research can be mobilised in a local context to validate the authenticity of a festival, or showing how people experience the emotional power of their association with the agricultural past through activities, skills and sensations that evoke it directly. This chapter, in addition to underlining the social functions of identity- and community-making that wheat festivals still perform, suggests that their protagonists have taken up a conscious and active role in representing their heritage, often appropriating stereotypes and exoticist depictions.

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Recorded memories and diasporic identity in the archive of Giuseppe Chiaffitella
Nicola Scaldaferri

This chapter deals with the analysis of an archival body, and in particular with the sound recordings made by Giuseppe Chiaffitella, an emigrant from San Costantino Albanese who moved to New York during the 1910s. In the central part of the twentieth century, every time Chiaffitella crossed the Atlantic he would carry recorded messages, music, soundscapes and soundmarks. His use of the sound recorder to create ‘sound souvenirs’ played a role in keeping alive the connections between the people of the village and their relatives in the USA. The chapter argues that the mediatisation of sound, and especially voice, can be a powerful way to increase its affective value and lead to the creation of transnational listening communities. This is especially true in the case of a second-stage diaspora such as that of the Arbëresh (Italians of Albanian origin) who moved to the USA, for whom linguistic identity and oral tradition form additional layers of complexity. Chiaffitella’s sensitivity to the emotional value of sound makes his recordings pioneering in their attention to the context and the diachronic dimension, especially compared with recordings by professional researchers of his time. The chapter also includes photographs from the research stage and a selection of images from Chiaffitella’s vast photographic archive.

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Towards a sonic ethnography of the Maggio festival in Accettura
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

This chapter outlines the concept of sonic ethnography and applies it to the Maggio festival in Accettura, the most impressive tree ritual in Italy. Sonic ethnography puts sound at its centre by taking it seriously and listening critically during fieldwork. It also uses sound as a medium in which to do research, and as a way to represent its outcomes. Our approach revealed how classic analyses of the festival downplayed its acoustic component and the role of musical performances in governing the collective labour necessary for the festival to succeed. Highly complex, entailing multiple manoeuvres taking place simultaneously and often very dangerous, the transport and raising of a massive tree in the main square represents the core of the ritual, and takes place in a sonic stream made of loud wind bands, animal calls and drunken singing. We highlight how governing sound allows a safe and successful festival. The textual component of the chapter is followed by a photographic sequence that dialogues with the related sound recordings.

in Sonic ethnography
Enacting human rights in mental health care in Ghana
Ursula M. Read

The removal of vagrant lunatics from the streets of African cities has a long history in the context of colonial and postcolonial urbanization. However, the emergence of rights-based approaches to mental illness as part of the growing influence of global mental health in Ghana has led to a reframing of this historical legacy within the context of mental health reform. The continued practice of forcibly removing persons with mental illness for treatment within the psychiatric hospitals aims to appease public concerns over growing homelessness among mentally ill persons. At the same time it is also deployed as evidence of efforts to enact new mental health legislation to international agencies. This case illustrates the entanglements and tensions arising from attempts to enact mental health reform in a way which resonates both with international psychiatric practice and human rights and with local expectations of social order and development.

in Global health and the new world order
From colonial to cross-cultural psychiatry in Nigeria
Matthew M. Heaton

This chapter examines the development of mental health services during decolonization in Nigeria from the 1950s to 1970s, focusing particular attention on the life and work of Thomas Adeoye Lambo, Nigeria’s first European-trained psychiatrist of indigenous background. By connecting his psychiatric research and practice to local cultural expectations, nationalist developmentalist agendas and international programmes in cross-cultural psychiatric research, Lambo helped to cement professional psychiatry in Nigeria in ways that expanded upon the significantly underdeveloped colonial model. However, at the same time he adapted the European paradigm to better fit local circumstances, and those adaptations in turn recirculated into the global discourse, effecting a globalization of the way psychiatrists around the world thought about the nature and treatment of mental illness. The chapter argues that the development of mental health infrastructure in Nigeria was therefore local, national and international in ways that allow for more nuanced historical studies of the links between colonial psychiatry and contemporary global mental health agendas.

in Global health and the new world order
Abstract only
In search of global health
Didier Fassin

This chapter mobilizes the author’s double-sided experience as physician and anthropologist to reflect on what global health is about, what it is doing and what the social sciences – anthropology foremost, given its long engagement with the life of ‘others’ – have to say about it. Building on the idea that global health is both under-theorized and hyper-normative, the chapter identifies five lines of tensions whose dialectics are worth taking into account and analysing, since, at first sight, they look like irremediable polarities of the field, i.e. worldwide vs universal, moral vs economic, compassion vs predation, facts vs representations, scale vs time.

in Global health and the new world order
Constructing population in the search for disease genes
Steve Sturdy

Numerous studies describe the genetic make-up of populations living outside Europe and North America. Many of these tackle human genetic variation with the explicit aim of identifying gene variants of medical significance for the populations studied. However, the chapter points to rather different motivations, showing how recent studies documenting the genetic constitution of non-Western populations have grown out of, and serve the purposes of, efforts to identify genetic factors which influence the health of populations in Europe and North America. Analysing the past thirty-five years of medical research literature, the chapter shows how, in this context, efforts to identify genetic variants of possible significance for disease aetiology have shifted to include large-scale association studies in populations rather than families. It discusses how research with local concerns must nonetheless take into account the global distribution of genes and genotypes, thus making studies of the genetic causes of disease, wherever conducted, increasingly global in their purview. The chapter also argues that this recent knowledge of human population genomics has developed in a way which reinscribes ideas of racial difference into biomedical understanding of human populations, and creates tools for excluding supposedly non-Western populations from research oriented towards the concerns of Western institutions.

in Global health and the new world order
Historical and anthropological approaches to a changing regime of governance

What does global health stem from, when is it born, how does it relate to the contemporary world order? This book explores the origins of global health, a new regime of health intervention in countries of the global South, born around 1990. It proposes an encompassing view of the transition from international public health to global health, bringing together historians and anthropologists to explore the relationship between knowledge, practices and policies. It aims at interrogating two gaps left by historical and anthropological studies of the governance of health outside Europe and North America. The first is a temporal gap between the historiography of international public health through the 1970s and the numerous anthropological studies of global health in the present. The second originates in problems of scale. Macro-inquiries of institutions and politics, and micro-investigations of local configurations, abound. The book relies on a stronger engagement between history and anthropology, i.e. the harnessing of concepts (circulation, scale, transnationalism) crossing both of them, and on four domains of intervention: tuberculosis, mental health, medical genetics and traditional (Asian) medicines. The volume analyses how the new modes of ‘interventions on the life of others’ recently appeared, why they blur the classical divides between North and South and how they relate to the more general neoliberal turn in politics and economy. The book is meant for academics, students and health professionals interested in new discussions about the transnational circulation of drugs, bugs, therapies, biomedical technologies and people in the context of the ‘neoliberal turn’ in development practices.

Introduction
Claire Beaudevin, Jean-Paul Gaudillière, Christoph Gradmann, Anne M. Lovell, and Laurent Pordié

The introduction explores the ways in which history and anthropology have approached global health and its origins. It suggests that this new regime of health intervention in countries of the global South, born around 1990, differs from the previous regime of international public health at three levels: the actors involved, the targets prioritized and the tools mobilized. The introduction further identifies two gaps left by historical and anthropological studies of the governance of health outside Europe and North America: (1) a temporal gap between the historiography of international public health through the 1970s and the numerous anthropological studies of global health in the present; (2) a gap originating in problems of scale. Macro-inquiries of institutions and politics abound, as do micro-investigations of local configurations. Pleading for a strong engagement between the two disciplines and the harnessing of common concepts, the introduction explores why and how the four domains of interventions selected in the book (tuberculosis, mental health, medical genetics and traditional (Asian) medicines) can contribute to a better understanding of the new modes of ‘interventions on the life of others’ and how they relate to the more general ‘neoliberal turn’.

in Global health and the new world order
Jean-Paul Gaudillière, Christoph Gradmann, and Andrew McDowell

This chapter discusses two local histories of tuberculosis (TB) to bridge gaps between history and anthropology in global health. Outlining TB’s resurgent interest within the two disciplines from about 1990, the chapter shows that historiographic concern for TB, although limited, arose from increased multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) rates in high-income countries. As for the historical discipline, this resulted in a focus on policies. Medical anthropology, by contrast, took a sustained interest in drug-based disease control and produced myriad studies of DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy, Short-Course) as practice. The local histories we consider – first Tanzania-based treatment trials from 1982 as a successful challenge to the World Health Organization WHO’s primary health care policy and second India’s transition to a DOTS-inspired control programme from 1993 – reveal that TB’s resurgent moment was an important part of local discussions about care, control and development in the age of globalization.

in Global health and the new world order