Nilo-Ethiopian Studies No.15 (2011)
Information Sharing, Local Knowledge, and Development Practices: Community-based HIV/AIDS Initiatives among the Gurage in Southern Ethiopia
by making such information accessible not only to health and academic professionals but also to the wider population of the country, including those who are living with HIV. At the same time, the extant information has certain limitations, particularly with respect to the promotion of community involvement in the support of households affected by HIV I AIDS. Although health experts often assume that community members do not have the appropriate knowledge to cope with HIV I AIDS, rural households affected by HIV I AIDS often rely on local communal practices, which are based on popular knowledge. This paper examines the initiatives undertaken by the Gurage, a people in Southern Ethiopia, in their efforts to cope with HIVI AIDS. Local leaders and health experts among the Gurage have focused on the popular knowledge and practices that have been used to cope with HIV/AIDS. Traditional labour-exchange groups have played vital roles in these efforts. Indeed, their initiatives to improve the livelihoods of households affected by the virus are firmly associated with local labour and production practices in Gurage society.
Keywords: HIVIAIDS, local knowledge, livelihood, development, community-based initiatives
Representation of the Maasai by the Maasai: Information Sharing between Scholars and Local People
“wild,” “primitive,” “traditional,” “brave,” “beautiful,” “tall and slender,” “physically powerful,” and “excellent jumpers.” The Maasai are aware of these stereotypes and sometimes perform accordingly. This paper addresses the ways in which scholars and local people can share in the fruits of academic endeavors with respect not only to the accessibility of the work but also to the significance of the information. I argue that the significance of information shared by scholars and local people always differs according to the context of each recipient. Thus, careful attention must be paid to the context in which shared information is interpreted and to the nature of the interpretations. I clarify the experience of Maasai representations by the Maasai people and examine the significance that these representations hold for this group.
Keywords: Maasai representation, Samburu, anthropological output, local interpretation,decontextualization of information
Building Relationships with Local People during Anthropological Research: Filming the Lion Dance in Japan
With advances in digital technology and techniques, digital archives have been created in Japan to provide digitised texts, photographs, and videos to the general public. However, as digital recording has become common, various issues have arisen. For example, the process of creating a digital archive and determining who owns its contents requires discussion among interested parties. Since 2002, I have studied groups involved in the traditional ‘lion dance’ (shishimai) in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, and have collected video recordings of their dance. Initially, my purpose was to help preserve local culture by recording it on video. I then gave the videos to the local people in the form of a digital archive. At this stage, the shishimai groups were merely the subjects of the film. However, as the research progressed, both my relationship with the shishimai group members and the process of filming changed. This paper uses the case of filming the lion dance to discuss the researcher-subject relationship and the benefits of forming relationships and working cooperatively with local people.
Key words: digital archive, cooperation, lion dance, local people, video