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UF / Evolutionary Anthropology / ANT 2301 / What game of counting is?

What game of counting is?

What game of counting is?


Week 9

What game of counting is?

Christina, G. (1992)

Are We Having Sex Now or What?


This reading deals with what counts as sex. The author, a woman, first believed that sex was penile and vaginal intercourse. However, she questioned herself after an intimate night with a friend where they were on top of each other and kissing and touching, but he was never inside of her. Sex with women then comes into the question. Since a woman cannot ever be inside of a woman with her genitals, could two women still have sex? Possibly, since they can still enact in sexual activities. But, she then thinks that being sexual with someone is not having sex with them. The line of what counted as sex and what didn’t began to grow even hazier for the author. Now, what about consent without enjoyment? Is that still sex? Also, sex equalling intercourse has a problem because that includes rape. In the end, the author cannot decide on a true definition of sex, but just that it varies among us all.

How to arrange marriage in india?

We also discuss several other topics like What is global warming?

★ Game of counting

○ Author loved to count the amount of guys she had sex with

○ She looked for the patterns in the numbers We also discuss several other topics like What are the capitals and countries in south america?

■ Theory that every 4th lover was really good in bed

○ Game she played in her head

○ Numbers got larger, start to lose track

★ What counts as sex?

○ Had an intimate night with a friend, but he never was inside her

■ Author questioned if this counted as sex, and why or why not

■ Years later, author did have sex with him, and she felt satisfied he definitely had a number now

○ Sex with women

■ Used to define sex as penile-vaginal intercourse, but how do you Don't forget about the age old question of What are the key features of the ruler?
If you want to learn more check out What is psychogenesis?

determine true sex between two women?

What is mental health promotion?

■ Now that sex with women counted, author questioned if other people she’d done intimate things, but not penile-vaginal intercourse, counted as a number of sex partner in her head

○ Author wanted to know now what qualified as sex, because when you have sex with someone, your relationship changes

○ Line between sex and not-sex kept getting more hazy

★ Searching for an answer

○ Feeling/being sexual with someone isn’t the same as having sex with them ○ Friends gave idea that if you thought of it as sex when you were doing it, then it was If you want to learn more check out The speculators will what, if greedy speculators come to believe that supplies of corn over the next month will fall dramatically to unsually low level?

○ “Perhaps having sex with someone is the conscious, consenting, mutually acknowledged pursuit of shared sexual pleasure”

○ Acknowledgment, consent, reciprocity, pursuit of pleasure

★ Consent without enjoying

○ Times where we agree to have sex without being totally into the idea of it, or without enjoying it...is this still sex? We think of it as if both of us think we are having sex, regardless of the true feelings

★ Updated definition

○ “sex as the conscious, consenting, mutually acknowledged pursuit of sexual pleasure of at least one of the people involved”

■ But, what if neither of you are enjoying it?

★ Sex = Intercourse

○ This has serious flaw, because it includes rape

★ Experience

○ She and a man masturbated in front of each other, but did not touch each other, she counted this as sex

★ Results

○ The author did not come up with a definite answer of what counts as sex, but tells that it varies from person to person

Week 10

Nanda, S. (1992)

Arranging a Marriage in India


This reading deals with arranged marriages in India. It is not as forced as some people view it as, for a child can reject against anyone that the parents pick out for them. It is still seemed as ideal in India because children believe their parents hold more knowledge about who their kids are and hold more experience, therefore they are more fit to make a decision on something that will last forever. Divorce is also greatly looked down upon in India, which is why the divorce rate among arranged marriages may be less than those in the US.Don't forget about the age old question of What are the different types of value that drive consumer choice?

★ Arranged marriages in India

○ Almost all marriages are arranged

■ Called a “love match”

○ Parents do not compel their children to marry a person if they object ■ Another will be found

○ Indian view: parent’s have better knowledge of a good match

■ Young men and women in India don’t date and have very little social life involving the opposite sex

■ They have the chance to enjoy life, not stress over finding “the one” and let their parents do the work

○ Author found that in India, many marriages were happy, while in America, there were many divorces

○ Basic rules

■ Family reputation is most important

■ Arranged in same caste and social class

■ Divorce is a scandal

■ Girl’s character is most important

● To get along with husband and his family

■ A military career has little prestige

■ Short men are not favorable, short women are favorable

■ Darker skintones not favorable

■ Overweight not favorable

■ A lot of siblings not favorable, for the parents have to worry about many children’s marriages instead of focusing on the one

■ “Too educated” and independent is not favorable

○ Arranged marriages are not as rushed as marriage is in America, for many factors are to be accounted for to make sure no problems occur during the marriage

■ To divorce means to ruin the family’s reputation, therefore, every little factor between the girl and boy must match up completely to ensure


Week 11

Martin, E. (1991)

The Egg and the Sperm


This reading deals with gender stereotypes and how they have been used on scientific descriptions of how an egg is fertilized by sperm. Many specific examples are given below, but the main idea is the the sperm has often been described as “masculine” and “tough” for travelling and surviving the journey to the “feminine,” “passive” and “waiting” egg, which does nothing while the sperm does all the work (which is not true). These wordings in actual biological descriptions exhibits gender inequality and stereotypes, as they are not accurate either. The goal of article is to shine light on gender stereotypes hidden within the scientific language of biology.

★ Intro

○ the picture of egg and sperm drawn in popular as well as scientific accounts of reproductive biology relies on stereotypes central to our cultural definitions of male and female

■ Stereotypes imply not only that female biological processes are less worthy than their male counterparts but also that women are less worthy than men

○ Goal of article is to shine light on gender stereotypes hidden within the scientific language of biology

★ Egg and sperm: A scientific fairy tale

○ Women

■ extolling the female cycle as a productive enterprise, menstruation must necessarily be viewed as a failure

■ Medical texts describe menstruation as the "debris" of the uterine lining, the result of necrosis, or death of tissue

● descriptions imply that a system has gone away, making products of no use, not to specification, unsalable, wasted, scrap

● An illustration in a widely used medical text shows menstruation

as a chaotic disintegration of form, complementing the many texts

that describe it as "ceasing," "dying', "losing," "denuding,"


○ Men

■ Cycle is written with enthusiasm, where women’s is not

● “would span almost one-third of a mile!"

○ Differences

■ Men menstruation cycle written with enthusiasm

■ Set up that men continuously produces fresh germ cells, whereas the female has stockpiled ones by birth and is faced with their degeneration ■ Female organs spared vivid descriptions

● One writer said ovaries become old and worn out every month, although women is still young

○ How to avoid this

■ Scientists can begin to describe male and female processes as homologous

■ Credit females with “producing” mature ova one at a time, and describe males as having to face problems of degenerating germ cells

○ What they really do

■ Celebrate sperm production because it is continuous from puberty to senescence, while they portray egg production as inferior because it is finished at birth

● Makes female seem unproductive

○ Questioning men

■ Why are the male’s vast production of sperm not seen as wasteful since they produce 100 million a day?

○ Scientific language

■ Egg

● Behaves “feminine”

● Large and passive

● doesn’t move or journey, but “is transported, swept, drifts” along fallopian tube

■ Sperm

● Behaves “masculine”

● Small, streamlined, active

● They “deliver” their genes to the egg, “activate the developmental program of the egg,” their tails are “strong”, with ejaculation, they can “propel the semen into the deepest recesses of the vagina” ■ Queen and King

● Egg as a queen

○ Egg coat, its protective barrier, sometimes called its

“vestments,” which is a term usually reserved for sacred,

religious dresses

○ Said to have a “corona,” a crown, and to be accompanied by “attendant cells”

■ It is holy, set apart and above, the queen to the

sperm’s king

○ Egg is passive, must depend on sperm for rescue

● Sperm as king

○ Have a mission to move through female genital tract in quest of the ovum

○ The “survivors” of the hard quest to get the prize

○ “The egg will die within hours unless rescued by the


■ Even though sperm only lives for a few hours

● Ruth Hershberger

○ Argued that female reproductive organs are seen as

biologically interdependent, while male organs are viewed

as autonomous, operating independently and in isolation

■ Depictions of sperm and egg

● Sperm as more important

○ Depiction of sperm and egg as picture of dog and fleas

■ Power of fleas // power of sperm, despite their size

● Sperm as weak

○ Only seen in Woody Allen’s movie Everything You Always

Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask

○ Sperm in testicular afraid to launch itself into darkness, or

wind up on ceiling if masturbated

● Egg as damsel in distress, sperm heroic warrior to the rescue

■ Conclusion

● Facts of biology constructed in cultural terms

○ The degree of metaphorical content in these descriptions,

the extent to which differences between egg and sperm

are emphasized, and the parallels between cultural

stereotypes of male and female behavior and the character

of egg and sperm all point to this conclusion

★ New Research, old imagery

○ Need to understand the way in which the cultural content in scientific descriptions changes as biological discoveries unfold, and whether that cultural content is solidly entrenched or easily changed

○ Rewriting

■ Johns Hopkins University rewrote egg as passive to it as active ● Lab study

○ Found sperm doesn’t just use mechanical means to get

through to the egg, but also uses chemical

○ Discovered sperm tail is actually weak

○ Egg and sperm stick together because of adhesive

molecules on surfaces of each

■ Egg traps sperm and holds tight, sperm wiggles,

egg traps it more, tail of sperm too weak to escape

■ Gerald and Helen Schatten

● Egg and sperm are mutually active partners

○ Paul Wassarman

■ "recognize one another," and "interactions ... take place between sperm and egg”

○ Hermann Fol

■ Sperm as aggressor, the waiting role to the egg, sperm makes it happen, sperm as “key” and egg as “lock”

■ Feminine terms

● Egg selects appropriate mate, prepares him for fusion, then

protects the resulting offspring from harm

■ Word choice favors sperm’s activity

■ Describes components of sperm but refers to the sperm as a whole entity ★ Social Implications: Thinking beyond

○ Even though each new account gives the egg a larger and more active role, taken together they bring into play another cultural stereotype: women as a dangerous and aggressive threat

■ Johns Hopkins lab's revised model

● egg ends up as the female aggressor who "captures and tethers"

the sperm with her sticky zona, rather like a spider lying in wait in

her web

■ Schatten lab

● egg's nucleus "interrupt" the sperm's dive with a "sudden and

swift" rush by which she "clasps the sperm and guides its nucleus

to the center

■ Wassarman

● description of the surface of the egg "covered with thousands of

plasma membrane-bound projections, called microvilli" that reach

out and clasp the sperm adds to the spider-like imagery

○ These grant egg an active role but at the cost of appearing disturbingly aggressive

○ Cybernetic model

■ feedback loops, flexible adaptation to change, coordination of the parts within a whole, evolution over time, and changing response to the


■ Potential to shift our imagery from the negative to positive

● The female reproductive system could be seen as responding to

the environment (pregnancy or menopause), adjusting to monthly

changes (menstruation), and flexibly changing from reproductivity

after puberty to non reproductivity later in life

● sperm and eggs interaction could also be described in cybernetic


■ Be aware that it is hardly neutral

○ Stereotypical imagery

■ Begins in cell, so these roles are natural

■ That result of fertilization is result of deliberate human action at cellular level

○ What to do now

■ Waking up such metaphors, by becoming aware of when we are

projecting cultural imagery onto what we study, will improve our ability to investigate and understand nature

■ Waking up such metaphors, by becoming aware of their implications, will rob them of their power to naturalize our social conventions about gender

Week 12

Zraly and Nyirazinyoye (2010)

Don’t Let the Suffering Make You Fade Away


Rape has been used in contemporary armed conflicts to inflict physical, psychological, cultural and social damage. This reading deals with the approach of resilience. The paper presents ethnographic data gathered over 14 months in Southern Rwanda on resilience among genocide-rape survivors who were members of two women’s genocide survivor associations. Resilience among genocide-rape survivors was found to be shaped by the cultural-linguistic specific concepts of kwihangana (withstanding), kwongera kubaho (living again), and gukomeza ubuzima (continuing life/health), and comprised of multiple sociocultural processes that enabled ongoing social connection with like others in order to make meaning, establish normalcy, and endure suffering in daily life. Results showed that the process of resilience among genocide-rape survivors was the same regardless of whether genocide survivor association membership was organized around the identity of genocide-rape survivorship or the identity of widowhood. Members of the Abasa were more open in talking and sharing their genocide rape experiences than the members of the AVEGA, who weren’t urged to. Ethnographic methods can be employed to support resilience-based post-conflict mental health promotion efforts through facilitating collective sexual violence survivors to safely socially connect around their shared experiences of rape, neutralizing social threats of stigma and marginalization.

★ Introduction

○ Typology of violence, rape employed in armed conflict, and war or genocide can be understood as collective and sexual violence (CVS)

○ women were both ‘‘agents and objects’’ in the 1994 Rwandan genocide ■ rape, gang rape, sexual torture, sexual slavery, and forced ‘‘marriage’’ were used systematically against an estimated 200,000 to 350,000

women and girls

○ Women and girls who survived the rape then seen as having infections and accused of being in the rape for survival

■ They were seen as unable to marry now, and any who were married were left by their husbands

○ Health consequences of CSV

■ unwanted pregnancy, gynecological complications and injuries, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV/acquired immunodeficiency

syndrome (AIDS)), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), common

mental disorders, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors

○ Survivors of rape in war and genocide often experience trauma

■ Complex and controversial concept and there is no agreement on the appropriate type of mental health care

★ The Resilience Way

○ Mental health promotion

■ public health strategy that seeks to protect and strengthen existing mental health, to prevent future threats to mental health at the group (e.g.

community or population) level, and to specifically and historically

addresses issues of power and inequalities

○ Resilience

■ refers to positive patterns of functioning or development during or

following exposure to adversity, or, more simply, to good adaptation in a context of risk

■ comprised of overcoming the negative effects of risk exposure, coping successfully with traumatic experiences, and avoiding the negative

trajectories associated with risks

■ mental health and mental illness are not mutually exclusive states and resilience is a pivotal concept for improving mental health

○ importance for understanding the response of genocide-rape survivors to the adversity characterizing their experience is the stress accumulation theory ■ theory suggests that repeated and prolonged exposure to severe

traumatic experience, such as genocide-rape, may exceed an individual’s threshold level of stress and may result in compromised individual

capacity to readjust

★ Ethnographic study of resilience among Rwandan genocide rape survivors ○ Methods - phase 1

■ first eight months of ethnographic fieldwork was largely comprised of developing relationships with genocide-rape survivors who were members of two distinct survivors’ associations

■ Informal, unstructured interviews

■ Gathered life experience and cultural data

○ Methods - phase 2

■ 57 study participants over 6 months

■ Members of Abasa or AVEGA who experienced rape during 1994


■ observation and participant-observation in homes, fields, and workplaces focused attention on emotion, social interaction, and everyday problem management in the daily lives of the study participants

■ Ethnographic mapping revealed three meaningful variables and quotas for sample stratification 1) sector of residence, 2) HIV status, and 3)

lifecourse at the time of the genocide

○ Data analysis

■ Coding, content analysis, chi-square tests

★ Results

○ Characteristics of the stratified sample

■ Abasa members often identified themselves by the categories of girlhood and womanhood that they occupied at the time of genocide-rape


● emphasized that the rape of unmarried girls disrupted the

normative cultural pattern of gender identity by forcing girls them

into a painful social space where they were neither girls nor


■ Most popular were girls

■ 47% HIV positive

○ Demographic characteristics of the sample

■ Only 16% currently married or living with a partner

■ None completed secondary school

■ Majority catholic

■ AVEGA and Abasa members in this sample differed significantly with respect to a number of characteristics

● Age of AVEGA higher

● Home and livestock ownership of Abasa higher

○ Culturally specific concepts of resilience

■ Three cultural-linguistic specific concepts of resilience emerged from the fieldwork

● Kwihangana

○ to withstand something you have experienced that has

heart your heart, to avoid committing suicide

○ was the most directly accessible way to express and talk

about resilience in Rwanda

● kwongera kubaho

○ was a reaffirmation of life after death, referring to the

process of finding and living a life after the humanitarian

catastrophe that intended to destroy Tutsis, their families,

and their humanity

○ Peace in you, on your body and inside your heart you feel

there is peace and you have means to develop yourself in

order to live

● gukomeza ubuzima

○ to continue living, conveyed a sense of willingness, effort

making, or participation in one’s own life

○ Finding motivation to live, strive for decent life, accept

everyday problems

○ Resilience content analysis

■ The 44 individual resilience narratives in the sample were coded with a mean of 24.9 codes each.

■ Because this study approached resilience as a process as opposed to a quality or set of qualities, theses code counts do not measure degrees of resilience; rather, these results speak to differences in the breadth of variety in resilience practices.

■ demographic factors may configure patterns of resilience engagement ● Single, HIV positive, head of household and mother may locate Rwandan women’s association members in a social environment that constrains their opportunities for engagement in a broad


● HIV free, youth and student with a family member in the same women’s association, may expand opportunities for elaborating a wider set of resilience engagements

○ Revealing genocide-rape experience

■ AVEGA = don’t talk about rape experience

● widow point of view, girls who experienced genocide-rape had reasons to conceal that fact, such as to avoid shame and


■ Abasa = talk about rape experience

● perspective of Abasa members who experienced rape during the

genocide as girls was that they had been advised by their fellow

members not to hide it

○ Public expression of genocide-rape experience

■ Kwongera kubaho (living again) was a reason to strive to speak out about the events of the 1994 genocide, thus linking survivors’ resilience and CSV prevention

■ Understanding how patterns of courageous emotional expression among CSV survivors are supported or constrained by social and structural

forces in post-conflict and post-genocide settings is critical

● especially considering the potential impact of survivor voices on

the prevention of future collective sexual violence and


■ courage may be a particularly important emotional aspect of resilience to focus on with regard to mental health promotion among CSV survivors, since both CSV itself and the memory of it can be profound sources of discouragement and indescribable pain

★ Discussion

○ among genocide-rape survivors located in women’s associations in southern Rwanda, the process of resilience appeared to be patterned by the culturally specific concepts of kwihangana, kwongera kubaho, and gukomeza ubuzima

■ findings reveal that fourteen years after experiencing genocide-rape the everyday life of survivors was imbued with an emotional ethos of refusing

to linger in pain, standing firm in the face of problems, and struggling for survival and health

○ coping strategies and resilience processes were tightly integrated ■ Kwihangana, kwongera kubaho, and gukomeza ubuzima in the context of Rwandan genocide-rape survivors’ everyday life was found to be comprised of a set of multiple elemental sociocultural processes that did not differ across association membership

○ they describe an orientation to the world that involved being socially connected to like others in order to make meaning, establish normalcy, and endure suffering in daily life

■ Taken in isolation, each of the processes may be considered a coping strategy, such as ‘‘thought control’’ and ‘‘fortifying positive affect” ○ Abasa going public

■ able to transform rape survival identity from a stigmatized,

marginalization-inducing social position to one occupied by courageous, justice-deserving, publicly valorized women and girls

■ Safe social space and more access to home and livestock than AVEGA ○ Age

■ the older group of AVEGA members have had nearly an extra decade of life exposed to the lethal social conditions of racism, authoritarianism, and structural violence that fueled the genocide

○ Mental health services

■ post-conflict women’s associations should be considered a significant site of ‘‘informal community mental health services’’ where CSV survivors seek help and discuss and manage emotional problems

■ ought to be recognized as fertile ground for understanding and promoting war or genocide-rape resilience in cultural context

■ support the argument to incorporate ethnography in the design,

implementation, and evaluation of post-conflict mental health programs and policies

○ Authors suggestions

■ the free listing of problems among CSV survivors, descriptions of those problems, ways that CSV survivors handle those problems, identification of local people who support CSV survivors in handling those problems in those ways, then key informant interviews with the identified people about all aspects of the resilience tactics including how people can engage in it. ★ Conclusions

○ In field of global mental health, resilience-centered mental health programs hold promising potential for application in the humanitarian, health, and development sectors as responses to the needs of CSV survivors

○ supports the latter view that resilience is a fundamental and ordinary human adaptation system that involves the inextricable domains of self, emotion, and sociality, which are mediated by culture and context

○ populations most vulnerable to the deleterious health effects of collective violence are often the very same as those are most impacted by the erosion of life chances and social suffering rooted in structural and symbolic violence

○ Rwandan genocide-rape survivors have been able to begin to forge pathways toward ameliorating the pain, suffering, and injustice of collective violence amidst considerable constraints, hence exceeding expectations of ‘‘functionality’’ in the wake of the extreme, pervasive social and personal violence of genocide-rape

○ mental health promotion activities in post-conflict states should look for opportunities to seamlessly interface with the potentially powerful informal health care systems used and comprised by CSV survivors

○ results of the research demonstrate that given the right program and policy conditions, it is possible for CSV survivors in Africa south of the Sahara to safely connect around their shared experiences of genocide-rape despite threats of stigma and marginalization

○ social connections provide the cultural milieu for CSV survivors to authorize, stabilize, and catalyze culturally-specific resilience processes

Week 13

Attwood, F. (2009)

Deepthroatfucker and Discerning Adonis


This article uses interviews with male cybersex participants to examine their experiences of cybersex and considers constructions of ‘self’ and ‘sex’ in their discussions. It asks how the adoption of a cybersex persona is understood by participants and how they characterize their cybersexual practices in order to develop a clearer picture of the ways in which new forms of communication technology are implicated in producing new forms of sexual practice and how these relate to contemporary perceptions of what sex is.

★ Framing cybersex

○ New kinds of sexual experience emerging

○ Online sexual activities

■ Porn, buy sex toys, seek advice about sex

○ People can connect and interact sexually with each other online

○ Cybersex

■ Form of interaction carried out entirely through text on various online services

■ Purposes

● Desire, expression, intimacy, play, experimentation, arousal,


■ Potential it offers

● New categories of sex and sexual identity

○ Men who have sex, but not real life sex with other men

● Share fantasies, have freedom to do so

● Potentially empowering, to “do” anything you want

● Can play with sex and gender

○ Critical opposition view

■ Argue that it involves nothing more than reproducing conventional

gendered sexual intercourse

■ Rather than challenging existing constructions of sex, it eroticizes them ■ male sexual performance is ‘a sort of self-conscious badge of masculinity rather than the object of female pleasure and desire’

○ cybersex ‘allows for the possibility of rewriting gendered codes of sexuality, in that it blurs the distinction between the subject and the object, the consumer and the consumed, the image and the act’

○ Author’s interest

■ In developments in forms of intimacy and communication

■ communication technologies are understood as extending the recreational possibilities of sexual encounters, allowing a quick intimacy to develop in the conditions of anonymity, physical distance and transience that the Internet makes possible

○ More real than real life sex because their functioning at the symbolic level provides a better form of expressing and fulfilling than real sex

★ Doing cybersex

○ Ethical and methodological problems

■ Potential climate of fear and suspicion for researchers and their subjects ○ Initial phase

■ Several weeks familiarizing self with website

■ Men identify in variety of ways, challenges “male sexuality”

● Tender and tough, dominant and submissive, playful and

provocative, high minded and dirty minded

○ Second phase

■ Participant observation

● Engage with users and extend knowledge of site and use

■ Age difference

● Young men extremely at ease with cybersex practice, more open to speak about it

● Older men usually more uncomfortable and not willing to speak


○ Third phase

■ Interviews

● Self reflection often an explicit feature of discussion

● Uses

○ Chat rooms, roleplay, sharing sexual experiences, and

general chatting

● Displeasures

○ Rejection by other uses, losing connection during

interactions, and dull encounters

● Pleasures

○ Ability to speak openly about sex, break taboos and live

out fantasies in a safe space

★ Self and sex in cybersex

○ Half tried out female, or dominant male personae

○ Minority experienced with different ages

○ Participants explored question of what was real and what was role ○ Majority reported their activities involved masturbation accompanying sex talk and almost all indulged in role-play

○ 3 common chats

■ Companionable chat

● Hobbies and interests

■ Sexual discussion

● Sharing fantasies and stories

■ Role playing

● Doing role play

○ Practices

■ Partner sex, porn, masturbation, solitary fantasy

○ Cybersex often described as sex-like, or sexual involvement, but not sex ○ Four interviewee’s wrote fiction and were interested in the nature of cybersex as text

○ Emotional connection with partners

■ Minority reported

■ Chat rooms as community

● Better the connection, the better the sex

■ Some, but little, have met with other users off-line to have sex ○ Expression of desires

■ Why majority of men enact in cybersex

○ Author’s conclusions

■ More attention should be paid to developing a clearer idea of the space of cybersex as a space between fantasy and action and its significance for its practitioners

■ cybersex appeared to be a meaningful and valued form of sexual practice and an addition to their sexual repertoires, alongside partner sex, masturbation and the use of sexually explicit materials

■ Functions for ppl variety of ways

● Compensatory, escapist, educational, creative, interpersonal and therapeutic

● Allowed to experiment

○ Significance depends

■ Range of contextual factors, with age, offline sexual identity and familiarity with the communication

○ cybersex personae were understood as self, as not-self, as a variation on the self or as a repressed or unexplored part of self

■ “Doing without being” or bringing aspects of self together or becoming, “being through doing”

○ Range of states

■ playing with roles to achieve a consistency of self-presentation, experimenting with ‘mostly-me’ personae, losing the self altogether in the pleasure of reciprocation, or developing the ‘consistency’ and ‘credibility’ necessary for playful performances

○ Developments

■ use of communication technologies more generally for interaction, the growth of new forms of intimacy, a cultural preoccupation with

self-pleasure and the rise of a concept of sex as a type of individualized

leisure activity

○ Internet transfigures sexuality, does not repeat them

○ Experiences

■ the sharing of fantasies, breaking of taboos, rejection of shame and

creation of intimacy appear to be central to its pleasure and its

significance, along with an appreciation of various levels of ‘exchange’,

‘reciprocation’, ‘mutuality’ and ‘connection’

○ Space of cybersex space for play

○ cybersex practices suggest we need to rethink our ideas about the self and pay more attention to the ways that sexual encounters may be changing

Padilla, M. (2008)

Stigma, Social Inequality, and HIV Risk


This reading deals with Latino men who enact in homosexual activities, and their role in the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Almost all of the men do it to earn money since they are poor, relating sex work to poverty. They do it for necessity, not for attraction. However, they do not tell their female partners of their acts. If they ever got HIV from a male, they could give it to their female partner because they do not wear condoms with them. Much of the studies information is discussed in the abstract below.

★ Abstract

○ bisexually behaving Latino men are less likely than White men to disclose to their female partners that they have engaged in same-sex risk behavior and/or are HIV-positive, presumably exposing female partners to elevated risk for HIV infection

○ This paper examines decisions about disclosure of sex work, same-sex behavior, and sexual risk for HIV among male sex workers in two cities in the Dominican Republic

○ In depth interviews of 72 male sex workers

○ Analyze relationships among experiences of stigma, social inequality, and patterns of sexual risk disclosure

○ revealed a wide range of stigma management techniques utilized by sex workers to minimize the effects of marginality due to their engagement in homosexuality and sex work

○ imposed severe constraints on men’s sexual risk disclosure, and potentially elevated their own and their female partners’ vulnerability to HIV infection ○ conclude that future studies of sexual risk disclosure among ethnic minority MSM should avoid analyzing disclosure as a decontextualized variable, and should seek to examine sexual risk communication as a dynamic social process constrained by hierarchical systems of power and inequality

★ Introduction

○ when and under what circumstances individuals disclose information about their sexual risk behaviors or HIV status to their primary partners have been central to

recent scholarly debates about the epidemiological importance of sexual disclosure in the age of AIDS

○ rising infection rates among ethnic minority women may be related to the clan destine bisexual behavior of their male partners

○ called for attention to the role of HIV risk disclosure – direct communication with sexual partners about one’s sexual risk for or infection with HIV – as a potentially important factor influencing HIV transmission

○ argued that disclosure of sexual orientation, sexual risk behavior, or HIV serostatus by bisexually behaving men may each play a role in preventing new HIV infections

○ argues that much of the inconsistency in findings on HIV risk disclosure is related to the tendency to focus on individual-level or relational factors while neglecting the contextual factors that inform bisexually behaving men’s decisions to disclose

○ suggest that studies of HIV risk disclosure would greatly benefit from existing social science approaches to stigma and social inequality as they have been applied globally in public health

■ allow researchers to examine the ways specific populations make decisions about disclosure in relation to the multiple social norms and power structures that they face in their daily lives

○ Latino men who have sex with men

■ structural disadvantages, such as pov- erty, discrimination, disconnection from kinship structures, interpersonal violence, elevated unemployment, and low educational attainment

○ Disclosure

■ Stigma of being homosexual and desire to protect family members from reputation

■ Social, cultural, and structural context

■ the relationships among social stigma, social inequality, and HIV risk disclosure among male sex workers and their local female partners ○ Methods and Background

■ Seeks to examine how members of specific population of bisexually behaving latin american men narrate real or potential moments of sexual disclosure with their partners and families and to describe how experiences of stigma and social inequality shape for decisions, and practices of disclosure

■ We believe that the combination of ethnographic methodologies, extensive rapport-building prior to the SSI, and the research team’s experience with the population all contributed to more valid responses from subjects regarding experiences of stigma and disclosure

■ (1) experiences of stigma and social inequality related to sex work and homosexual behavior; (2) strategies to manage stigma related to either sex work or homosexual behavior; (3) men’s predictions regarding social stigma upon real or imagined disclosure of sex work and/or homosexual behavior; and (4) the effects of stigma and social inequality on men’s decisions to employ risk reduction techniques with female partners

■ Sexual exchanges with men generally por la necesidad, meaning out of necessity, often providing household and personal income upon which men depended

★ Results

○ many of the sex workers in this study had become street children at an early age, often working as limpiabotas (shoe-shiners) or chiriperos (street vendors) – occupations which resulted in periods of extreme deprivation

○ stories of initiation into sex work often began by describing a period of vulnerability or homelessness resulting from abuse, alcoholism, neglect, or poverty in the natal home

○ “Easy money”

○ Poverty and underemployment // bisexual sex work

○ sex work – particularly sex work with male clients – was almost universally believed to be harmful and potentially result in mental, physical, or moral damage ○ No attraction, just for money

○ ‘‘stigma management techniques’’ – modes of interaction that reduce the negative effects of stigma on one’s social status

■ concealing participation in sex work

● conceal their sex work income or provide a reasonable

explanation for the money they earned, often producing elaborate

stories about invented jobs

● Some let them know through indirect forms of communication

■ avoiding suspicion about engagement in homosexual behavior

○ desire to preserve family honor was a significant theme

■ open communication with family was often viewed as impossible, since it would represent a great shame on the household

■ Damage masculine identity

★ Contextualizing sexual risk disclosure

○ Strong resistance to use condoms with steady female partners

○ Condom use with male clients quite high

■ Interviews said differently

○ As with most of the participants in this study, Lorenzo’s fears about HIV infection and the desire to protect his girlfriend were overshadowed by anxieties about the potential consequences of disclosure

○ 83% used money to support children

★ Discussion

○ experienced significant social stigma due to their violation of norms of sexual behavior and modes of work

○ stigma management techniques

■ minimize the effects of these dual stigmas, including the invention of jobs to justify sex work income, the creation of alibis for extended absences, and the production of girlfriends to perform heterosexual normalcy

○ Anxieties overwhelmed worries

■ many of these men described great fear about HIV infection or infecting their partners, the potential for disclosure of HIV risk was overwhelmed by their anxieties about further stigmatization and their investments in the stigma management techniques that they had integrated into their


○ Poverty

■ stigma must be viewed in relation to the conditions of inequality and structural violence that they routinely confront

■ socialized into the sex trade from an early age, often as a consequence of homelessness, poverty, or abusive environments

○ Communication

■ Only some shared indirect communication

○ HIV/AIDS address link between stigma and social inequality

○ understanding of how experiences of stigma and social inequality shape sexual risk disclosure among a specific population of bisexually behaving, non gay-identified men in the Dominican Republic

○ Conclusion

■ findings strongly suggest that individual or behavioral-level intervention approaches are unlikely to be effective in altering the most important contextual factors that contribute to HIV risk in marginalized populations of MSM.

■ interventions should be comprehensive and multi-level, extending beyond the MSM population and involving broad-based stigma-reduction initiatives, policy changes to protect sex workers from discrimination, and the creation of community interventions to improve skills for risk communication, social support, and a sense of collective responsibility.

■ Men’s desires to provide for their families and children, as well as their attempts at communication with certain members of their kin networks, may be cultural resources to be tapped by future prevention efforts.

■ the interconnections between sex work, social stigma, the expanding tourism industry, and the HIV epidemic urgently require attention by the public health system, tourism developers, and civil society, in an effort to

alleviate the structural conditions that contribute to vulnerability among

sex workers.

Week 14

Santos, K.A. (2012)

Teenage Pregnancy Contextualized


This article deals with early pregnancy in Brazil and how it doesn’t compare to the stigma of early pregnancy. The abstract acts as a summary for this article.

★ Abstract

○ results of a socio-anthropological study with women from a low-income community in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil

○ qualitative methods it looks at teenage pregnancy from the young mothers’ perspective and the contribution of their socioeconomic environment.

○ importance of different actors in their fertility decision and identifies contradictory cultural norms that recriminate teenage sexual activity while seeing motherhood as a ritual of passage to adulthood

○ the paper argues that motherhood stands as a successful activity through which they fulfill the collectively recognized ideal of womanhood, also carrying a sense of achievement in an environment where lack of opportunities prevail long before pregnancy occurs. Improving formal knowledge and economic well-being are

possible solutions to provide these girls with goals that go beyond parenthood while within reach of their economic reality

★ Introduction

○ Teen pregnancy seen as problem

○ Higher exposure to diseases, less education, economic disadvantage ○ assumption that teenage pregnancy is frequently unwanted or unplanned suggests that one of the causes may be the insufficiency or inadequacy of family planning programs

○ Study aims to investigate whether adolescent females consider pregnancy to be a problem, analyzing their discourse in the light of their socioeconomic scenario and consequent aspirations while investigating the role of different actors in their decision-making process

○ hypothesis that motherhood can present itself as a milestone and transition into womanhood, this research takes socio-cultural aspects into consideration to understand local views in teenage pregnancy and how these views might affect girls’ attitudes towards contraception and childbearing

★ Methodology

○ qualitative methods for data collection such as participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions

○ Coding, or keywords or sentences

★ Results

○ belief that childbearing brings about a sense of achievement and self-fulfillment and that, far from being an unwanted occurrence of negative consequences as

often cited in the literature, it is closely linked to local ideals of femininity, maturity, and small family sizes

○ Pregnancy occurred from motivations and unplanned consequences ■ Only 2 planned it

○ More freedom at home, want to get pregnant sooner

○ Younger teen girls do for money from drug lords

○ Most girls under and over 18 did not plan it

■ Due to absence of contraceptive methods and naivety at time, and little knowledge

■ Knowledge gained from school inadequate

○ Embarrassment, moral barriers, and contraceptive choice

■ Teenage sexuality a taboo

■ Embarrassment to see doctor because they often lived in the neighborhoods and knew the girls

■ rapid subsequent births or the non-use of contraceptive methods after birth for teenagers who had not used a contraceptive method during their first sexual intercourse were not a visible concern in this sample ○ Education and life plans

■ Most decided to not pursue more school before even getting pregnant ■ A lot did bad in school

● Probably due to them starting a job very young to support


■ Motherhood only accepted path for impoverished girls

○ motherhood

■ Having a child is an event that gives them purpose in life to work hard ● Responsibility

○ Family’s reaction was never excitement at first, but all fully supported ○ Father’s role

■ Joint decision, man stayed

■ Not join decision, man left

○ Acceptance of having a child eases families feelings of it happening ■ Teen pregnancy recurrent, common

★ Discussion

○ None were unwanted

○ desire to become mothers acts as a drive to young girls and their decision not to use contraception is based on beliefs that motherhood will bring fulfillment and take them to a different level of maturity

○ decision was based on their ideals of motherhood and life goals, and the fact that they were minors at the time did not weigh much in their decision.

○ This study found that despite the presence of a local health center and free distribution of different types of contraceptive methods, the lack of anonymity and fear of disclosure of their sexual lives was an impediment to very young girls ○ No negative health consequences

○ Factors

■ Age and economic status

■ Lack of information and embarassment to get contraceptives

○ Abortion illegal not using contraception and ‘allowing’ themselves to get pregnant seems to be the longstanding desire to become a mother, mentioned by 95% of the young mothers, and the sense of purpose and achievement associated with motherhood

★ Considerations

○ Ideal of motherhood and sense of achievement are desired event

○ Social acceptance makes it okay

○ Benefits outweigh problems

○ Schools should inform more on sex and reproduction

○ Poverty // early pregnancy

Week 15

Farmer, P. (2003)

Pathologies of Power


The reading starts off talking about the narratives of two Haitian people in order to compare and contrast their sufferings. Acephie was a young girl whose family suffered a great flood and was then left poor. She was the interest of a soldier who pursued her and they began to have a sexual relationship, although he was already married with kids. They stopped after he had many fevers, and soon died afterwards. Acephie then becomes a housekeeper in order to survive poverty, and becomes pregnant. The man doesn’t stay, and she is left without a job. She finds out she has AIDS, now her daughter as well, and dies. The second story is of

Chouchou, who had to drop out of school early to help on family’s farm because they were poor and needed his work. When he is older, and out-of-uniform soldier hears him speaking about the bad quality of the roads, and even though this was nothing against the military ran government, the officer beats him. Another day afterwards, he is taken again by military soldiers who beat him so badly he is no longer recognizable. He dies three days later after the beatings.

The reading then compares the two narratives, to explain how both sufferings were different but the reason their death occurred was because of government, or structural violence. Structural violence is a form of violence wherein some social structure or social institution may harm people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. In Haiti, AIDS and political violence are the leading causes of death, which is the consequence of human agency.

The rest of the reading goes into detail about poverty, gender, and race having a part in the suffering of human beings. Those in poverty and of color are often suppressed, women are more often raped by men, as men are more often beaten. Sexism reduces a woman’s basic human rights. Other forms of oppression is of sexuality, which may be the cause of the high rates of HIV/AID among homosexuals, since some clinics may refuse to give help (although, at least in the US, this is not the case anymore). Sex work is also linked with the disease.

Culture is not what defines suffering, but rather the structural violence. The world’s poor are the chief victims of structural violence; they are the most likely to suffer and the least likely to have their suffering noticed. The point is to call for more honest discussions of who is likely to suffer and in what ways.

★ On Suffering and Structural Violence

○ Suffering is a fact

○ Anthropologists study both individual experience and the larger social matrix in which it is embedded in order to see how various social processes and events come to be translated into personal distress and disease

■ When do social forces, from poverty to racism, become embodied as individual experience?

○ Haiti

■ Political and economic forces have structured risk for AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases

■ Social forces also have structured risk for extreme suffering, from hunger to torture and rape

■ Extreme poverty

● Government minimum wage $.07 to $.15 a day

■ Life expectancy less than 50 years

■ Disease

● Tuberculosis and AIDS leading death causes of adults

● Diarrheal disease, measles, and tetanus ravage the


○ Author argues that Acephie and Chouchou are anything but “anecdotal” ■ They both share the experience of occupying the bottom rung of the social ladder in inegalitarian societies

★ Acephie’s Story

○ Acephie one of first to die from AIDS

○ Family made decent living from farming

○ Home and belongings flooded, lost everything, moved to poor house they made

○ Acephie attended school

○ Acephie caught eye of married soldier, they become sexual partners briefly ■ He then fell ill with unexplained fevers, and died few months after ○ Acephie became a housekeeper at 22

○ She began seeing Blanco

■ Became pregnant, lost job, and he did not stay with her

○ She was diagnosed with AIDS

■ Dealt with sickness and persistent lassitude

○ After she died, her father hung himself

★ Chouchou Louis

○ Dropped out of school when mother died

○ Joined father and sister in tending their hillside garden

○ Childhood was brief and harsh, like most in rural Haiti

○ Into church activities

○ Government was harsh dictatorship, then fell to military and pro-democracy movement

○ Chouchou moved in with pregnant Chantel Brise

○ Chouchou made comment about the roads and out of uniform soldier heard ■ Had him seized and dragged, beaten, brought to military barracks ○ Lived in fear afterwards, was arrested for no reason one day

■ Marched to military checkpoint, tortured by soldiers

○ Chouchou then dumped into a ditch to die

■ Taken back to his home

■ Unrecognizable (beaten so badly, skin flayed down, mouth pool of blood, coughed up liter of blood, genitals mutilated)

■ Took 3 days to die

★ Comparing the two

○ Are these stories of suffering emblematic of something other than two tragic and premature deaths? If so, how representative is either of these experiences? ○ Acephie’s story

■ Little is unique

■ Young Haitian women often flee from poverty, work as a domestic, not financially secure, enact in sexual activity because of poverty

○ Chouchou’s story

■ Many poor peasants killed by military government during those times ○ Both

■ Agony of both ppl was “modal” suffering

■ In Haiti, AIDS and political violence are two leading causes of death among young adults

● They are the consequence, direct or indirect, of human agency

■ The social and economic forces that helped shape AIDS epidemic are the same forces that led to Chouchou’s death and to the larger repression in which it was eclipsed

■ Both were at fate before they met the soldiers who altered their destinies ■ Both were victims of structural violence

■ Choices both large and small are limited by racism, sexism, political violence, and grinding poverty

○ Structural Violence

■ “Exoticization” of suffering as lurid as that endured by Acephie and Chouchou distances it

● Suffering of individuals whose lives and struggles recall our own tends to move us; the suffering of those who are “remote” whether because of geography or culture, is often less affecting

■ Sheer weight of the suffering makes it more difficult to render ● Horror of suffering is not only its immensity but the faces of the anonymous victims who have little voice, let alone rights, in history ■ Dynamics and distribution of suffering are still poorly understood ● One must embed individual biology in the larger mix of culture, history and political economy to understand distribution of


■ It’s one thing to make sense of extreme suffering

● Local understandings must be understood and embedded in the historical system of Haiti

● Weakness of such analyses is their great distance from personal experience

● Individuals suffering from global forces acquire own appropriate context

○ Liberation theology

■ Suffering of the poor

■ Attempts to use social analysis both to explain and to deplore human suffering

○ How to explore structural violence and its contribution to human suffering ■ Analysis must be geographically broad

● World becoming increasingly interconnected

● Extreme suffering is seldom divorced from actions of the powerful

■ Analysis must be historically deep

■ Simultaneous consideration of various social axes

● Imperative in efforts to discern a political economy of brutality

■ Avoid reductionistic analyses

★ The Axis of Gender

○ Acephie and Chouchou shared a similar social status and each died after contact with Haitian military

○ Gender helps explain deaths

■ woman from AIDS, man from torture

○ Gender inequality

■ Acephie suffering more commonplace than Chouchou’s

■ Sexism

● Women’s right’s violated in innumerable ways

○ Domestic violence and rape for women, rarely ever for


● Poor women often least well defended

★ The Axis of “Race” or Ethnicity

○ Race has enormous social currency

○ Used to deprive many groups of their basic rights, which plays role in inequality and suffering

■ Infant mortality among blacks may be as much as 10 times higher than among whites

○ Poverty suppressed and unequal in South Africa

○ Race differentials persist even among privileged

○ Race-based differences in life expectancy have policy implications, and these are related to social and economic rights

★ Other Axes of Oppression

○ Any distinguishing characteristic can serve as a pretext for discrimination, and thus suffering

■ Refugee’s, sexual preference

○ Homosexuals // AIDS

■ Homophobia may have hastened development of AIDS if it denies services to those already infected with HIV

■ Sex work linked with the disease

● But it is poverty that put them in the work

★ The Conflation of Structural Violence and Cultural Difference

○ Poverty and inequality commonly spoke of as the same thing

○ Comes down to our mode of perceiving and objectifying alien societies ○ Idea of culture places researcher in position of equality with subjects, each belongs to a culture

■ Misreadings that anthropologist and his subject are from different

cultures, of different worlds and of different times

■ These misreadings are becoming transnational

○ Concepts of cultural relativism and arguments to reinstate the dignity of different cultures and races, have been easily adopted and turned to profit by some of the very agencies that perpetuate extreme suffering

○ Cultural difference, verging on a cultural determinism, is one of several forms of essentialism used to explain away assaults on dignity and suffering

○ The role of cultural boundary lines in enabling, perpetuating, justifying, and interpreting suffering in subordinate to the national and international mechanisms that create and deepen inequalities

○ “Culture” does not explain suffering

○ Poverty can often efface protective effects of status based on gender, race, or sexual orientation

★ Conclusion

○ Point is to call for more honest discussions of who is likely to suffer and in what ways

○ Capacity of suffer is part of being human

■ Not all suffering equivalent

○ Poverty is world’s largest killer

■ World’s poor are chief victims of structural violence

● Poor more likely to suffer and less likely to have suffering noticed

■ No honest assessment of the current state of human rights can omit

analysis of structural violence

Parker, R. (2002)

The Global HIV / AIDS Pandemic


The HIV/AID epidemic has made progress throughout the years, such as more advanced treatments, less discrimination towards those infected, the role of governments pushing for basic human rights for all human beings, and organizations. Poverty, racism, gender inequality, and sexual oppression are the main reasons for people being more affected than others. The World Bank has been a leading agency in the epidemic, although it has it’s downsides. Many oppose it since it takes out loans which then often result in greatly reduced spending for health, education, and welfare programs. A country’s existing debt must be addressed. Another issue is that after the attacks on 9/11, many countries are shifting their focus from HIV/AIDs to terrorism. Going forward, we must not forget this huge epidemic.

★ HIV/AID Epidemic

○ Entering it’s third decade

○ Progress

■ Sense of urgency is disappearing

■ New antiretroviral treatments have decrease mortality rates due to AIDS ■ Worst types of discrimination and human rights violations against people living with HIV/AIDS seem to have declined

■ Legal systems and official structures pushed to respond to epidemic by reaffirming basic rights of all human beings

■ Governmental and civil society organizations

★ Structural Inequalities

○ Epidemic is worse is resource-poor countries

○ World Bank predicts that HIV will be responsible for 37.1% of adults 15-59 by 2020, once 8.6% in 1990

○ Global distribution of infection is not equal; vast majority of HIV infections can be found in poorest regions of the world

■ Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America have the most ppl affected

○ Also documented more among racial and ethnic minority populations, and is high among gay and bisexual men, communities of color, and poor women living in inner cities (US)

○ HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to rage but almost exclusively marginalizes people living in situations characterized by diverse forms or structural violence ■ Poverty, racism, gender inequality, and sexual oppression

○ Another issue is the growing polarization between the very rich and the very poor ○ Same factors that shape HIV/AIDS epidemic are the same that shape the global epidemic

★ The Politics of International Health

○ Key to note a number of recent developments and questions ways in which they may continue to evolve

○ Growing role of the World Bank has been one of the leading agencies responsible for global response to the epidemic and international health ■ Concern because structural adjustment policies have often resulted in greatly reduced spending for health, education, and welfare programs ○ World Bank loans for HIV/AIDS are loans, not donations, which contribute to the increasing national debt of many developing countries

○ When developing understanding of social and economic development in relation to public health, already existing debt must be addressed

○ Progress

■ Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS that emerged from that special session marked an important step

■ International policy debates about HIV/AIDS and global health

■ Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

● Response from US disappointing, which is a huge setback since

US is the chief beneficiaries of current global economic order

★ Maintaining Commitment

○ After 9/11, countries turned to questions of our immediate security in a world that now seems physically unsafe

○ This threatens issues of HIV/AIDS

○ Now, debates of human well-being and safety within the broader context of international relations is about security and terrorism

○ It is now crucial that we work to analyze and understand the social and economic processes that have not only produced extreme forms of physical violence, but that have exacerbated the health threats that face so much of the world’s population on a daily basis

■ Public health research and analysis is key

○ Greatest challenge is to build an understanding of the broader structural forces that have shaped not only the first epidemics of a truly globalized world, but also its most recent political and ideological challenges

○ Must keep alive the broad range of health issues that must be confronted as we go into new millennium

○ Future depends on ways in which we confront these dilemmas

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