How to Read a WEIRD Evidence-Based Yangon Consultancy Report

By TONY WATERS 24 June 2019 (Reposted from The Irrawaddy of Yangon, Myanmar) Yangon’s INGOs are full of consultancy reports which offer “professional” opinions about conditions in Myanmar. NGOs, INGOS, and UN agencies investigate transitions regarding democracy, environment, federalism, ethnicity and, of course, gender. These are the subjects that donors are interested in—and thus willing to pay … Continue reading How to Read a WEIRD Evidence-Based Yangon Consultancy Report

Thinking about Yangon: Normalcy or Conflict?

Christina says I should write about my trip to Yangon (Myanmar/Burma) these last few days, as it is a city unfamiliar to the readers of Ethnography.com.  Her impressions, and those of our readers are probably in the context of the international news about Myanmar which focused last year on the Rohingya refugee crisis in which … Continue reading Thinking about Yangon: Normalcy or Conflict?

When is the country between India and Thailand called Burma or Myanmar?

English speakers seemingly use the word Burma or Myanmar to describe that country.  My impression is that it is somewhat interchangeable.  If you use Burma instead of “Myanmar” it is some how ok—you just sound a bit old-fashioned, which is perhaps how the United States Embassy in "Burma" sounds to ears inside Myanmar.  On the … Continue reading When is the country between India and Thailand called Burma or Myanmar?

Ethnography.com is reborn for 2019!

Well, it looks like Ethnography.com is going through a third or fourth re-design!  Christina Quigley is taking over the web-master duties and getting the blog ready for 2019!  This comes after a 1-2 year hiatus when little new content was posted.  This will hopefully change, as both Christina and I begin to post ethnographic observations … Continue reading Ethnography.com is reborn for 2019!

My Life as an Honored Potted Plant

Meetings are rituals, and rituals need symbols, and decorations, in other words potted plants.  I've been to a lot of meetings in my time as an academic where I sat bored and confused, but still clap on cue.  The most obvious place I am such a decoration is in May graduation ceremonies.  I sit in … Continue reading My Life as an Honored Potted Plant

Gallows Tale II: The Hanging File of Tanganyika 1920-1928 and the Risk of Escape!

The risk of escape of a condemned prisoner who is required to undergo a long journey on foot [of 230 miles] to the place of execution must be considerable Britain had took control of German East Africa and renamed it Tanganyika Territory in 1920. This meant that the German justice system, which had been found … Continue reading Gallows Tale II: The Hanging File of Tanganyika 1920-1928 and the Risk of Escape!

Gallows Tale I: The Hanging File of Tanganyika Territory 1920-1928 and the Extra “Whack”

Another point requiring your attention in the cross bar which holds the trap door in position. When this is released and falls into its groove in the wall, it should be caught by a socket of some kind, to prevent its rebounding on contact with the stone. At present it is quite possible that, in … Continue reading Gallows Tale I: The Hanging File of Tanganyika Territory 1920-1928 and the Extra “Whack”

A Baker from Dresden

I returned home to Friedrichshafen on the train from central Germany last Sunday. My wife, daughter, and I had second class tickets on the slow train—which meant a lot of stops. On the second stop, an elderly man got on the train, and asked if he could sit across from me. Sure, I grunted. I … Continue reading A Baker from Dresden

Alice Goffman’s On The Run: Ethnography in Action!

Alice Goffman’s On the Run: Fugitive Life in America is about young African-American boys and men on the run from the police in Philadelphia. The situation is a product of the United States’ skyrocketing incarceration rates—in the poor undereducated black neighborhood Goffman studies, something like 10% of the young men are incarcerated at any one … Continue reading Alice Goffman’s On The Run: Ethnography in Action!

“Cooling Out” the Victims of the Grad School Pyramid System

     Those who say "That's life" should understand that there is nothing natural about a system that kills the spirit of large numbers of people by first putting them in a position where they need opportunity, then promising them virtually unlimited opportunity and finally making them losers. Jeff Schmidt. Disciplined Minds (Kindle Locations 3045-3047).   One … Continue reading “Cooling Out” the Victims of the Grad School Pyramid System

Karl Marx’s View on Agency and What the Individual Can Do to Effect Social Change

Last Friday, I went to an Education conference to talk about my book Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child. It is a book which emphasizes that questions whether schools can change as fast as school reformers have often wish. The point is to explain that as bureaucracies, schools are embedded in persistent habitus, which … Continue reading Karl Marx’s View on Agency and What the Individual Can Do to Effect Social Change