Friday, May 28, 2010

Farmers' Markets: Community Development, Green Opportunities, and Better Nutrition

Markets are vibrant, exciting places where you can usually find a mix of people and products. They suggest a time when commerce was more personal. Whenever I have the chance to explore markets (like supermarkets) I take it—and can easily spend hours browsing the stalls, trying samples, and talking to vendors eager to make a sale. (I also just like to see what people are buying.)

I was in Union Square on Monday and caught the tail end of the day's farmers' market (there is a regular farmers' market and a seasonal holiday market that appear in Union Square). The remaining stalls were still bustling though wares had thinned considerably. I couldn't resist dawdling just a bit, and you're invited to linger with me. The Union Square market gives us a unique look at "local" life, drawing in people and products from the area. And it gives us a look at local agriculture—there's more to local New York foods than "dirty water dogs."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

FSH #93 is Live at The Prancing Papio

Another fine edition of the anthropology blog carnival is currently being hosted by Raymond Ho at The Prancing Papio. Head on over to get a look at what's new and interesting in the anthro blogosphere.

I'll be hosting #94. So once you're done with Raymond's selections, send me your own choices. The next carnival will go up on June 9th.

Street Art

Just wanted to share this photo with you, Readers. I came across this guy putting together a sand-art picture in Union Square. Unfortunately, I was a in a bit of a rush and couldn't stop to talk to him but I did manage to get this picture of his work, which was astounding.

Art, like anthropology, is everywhere—you just have to look. If anyone has any information on who the artist is and whether he does this often, please let me know and I'll update this post to include his information.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Investigating the "Benefits" of Bullying Online

Today we're picking up the conversation from yesterday, and investigating whether cyberbullying has any positive effects. We've looked at some articles discussing the adaptive and maladaptive ways children respond to bullying, and determined that bullying may help children develop responses for challenging situations and help them identify personalities to avoid later in life. There are definite consequences though. Today, we'll be looking at whether these ideas are true in the context of as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is a Little Bullying—Offline and Online—Good for You?

ResearchBlogging.orgFollowing my discussion on bullying and cyberbullying, the NYT featured an article discussing the ways "antagonistic relationships can often enhance social and emotional development more than they impede it." The article suggests that when someone dislikes you, "it may be adaptive to dislike them back." This two part post will explore the following questions:
  • Are there documented benefits to being bullied? 
  • And if there are, then how do these benefits unfold in the digital realm?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Lunch Truck: Providing a Small Taste of Ethnic Foods for the Adventurous

What do you normally have for lunch? Leftovers? A sandwich? Do you bring it from home or do you buy it from a local eatery? In New York City, a sandwich (with a pickle and a bag of chips) will cost you about $8.00. A salad starts at about $5.00; the price increases depending on how many extras you toss in there. It can get pretty pricey over time. A possible solution? Lunch trucks and carts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How Young Is Too Young? Social Networking and Children

Togetherville, the creation of Mandeep Singh Dhillon, is a social networking site for the under 13 crowd. It aims to introduce tech-inclined youngsters to the world of social media in a controlled and vetted environment. But some parents are wondering, how soon is too soon to get kids involved in the social web?

Blog News - Out With the New and In With the Old?

Hello, Readers. Just a note to assure you that you aren't viewing an older version of Anthropology in Practice. The new look wasn't quite right, so I've reverted back to the old scheme. I've got a good group of folks working with me to get the design right, but I'd welcome any thoughts you might have as well.

You can reach me here with comments or suggestions.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MTA Service Cuts Disrupt the Social Order of Commuters

The service changes approved by the MTA board in late March are not supposed to take effect until June. However, change came early for the LIRR as the organization canceled seven trains yesterday. While it may not seem as though seven is a large number, the effects of the change are certainly being felt by the commuters adjusting to new schedules, new trains, and new commuting buddies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time-Space Compression in the Digital Realm

My work on time in the digital realm is coming slowly but surely. At the moment I'm thinking of multiple temporalities and the ways in which we occupy these dimensions while adhering to standardized time. Birth (2007) explores these issues with an article that deals with the conflicts that can arise out of a meeting of biology, clock, sun, and sociality. Birth raises a point in particular that has given me some pause: “If place-bound identities are becoming more significant as Harvey argues (1993, 4), then one wonders about the ways time and space are experienced locally … and in relationships that span different time zones” (2007: 216). But can this statement be applied to the digital realm as well? Are place-bound identities still significant in the digital realm?

Monday, May 17, 2010

ResearchBlogCast on Emotional Intelligence and Bullying

Last week, I joined Dave Munger and Razib Khan for the newly instituted ResearchBlogCast, a podcast about one of the articles cited on

Here's a link to the audio file:

I was pretty excited to do this with Dave and Razib, though I'm afraid I wound up making myself far more nervous than was warranted. The day of the recording, I was in the midst of planning the launch of a major webtool, and had some trouble switching off my "work" brain. Eh, you live and learn. (And we've successfully launched the application, FYI, so now I can reroute some of my brain power back to blogging.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blog News - A New Look, A New Address

I decided to do a bit of cleaning here at Anthropology in Practice, and I'm delighted to reveal a new face for the site. It's also moving to a new home: The old address should continue to work, but please update your bookmarks, Readers, feeds, etc. Everything should be functional, but if you should come across a link or widget that doesn't seem to work, please let me know.

You can also find Anthropology in Practice on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Networked Blogs.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Four Stone Hearth is Live at Sorting Out Science

Hey there, Readers. Another edition of the anthropology blog carnival is available—this time from Sorting Out Science where Sam has rounded up a nice collection of posts from the web. Posts cover botany, iron-making, a figurine from Lejre, baseball, and of course, Neandertals. Stop by and take a look, and if you have an interest in hosting the carnival, you can find details here.

Service in the City: Breakfast Vendor

To wrap up the Service in the City series for this week, we'll talk to Akhmed, a breakfast cart vendor who serves up coffee, bagels, and pastries every morning to help sleepy workers start their day.

"Service in the City" doesn't end here. I'll occasionally add to this series as I collect more stories from service individuals. I urge you to talk to the service industry folks in your life, and if you'd like to feature them on Anthropology in Practice, drop me a line.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Service in the City: Cleaning Staff

Continuing the Service in the City series, today we'll be talking to Marge who works for an office cleaning company. Surely you didn't think your garbage can was emptied by helpful elves?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Service in the City: Administrative Assistant

To keep a metropolis running, it takes the work of many beyond public officials. There are countless individuals that we often take for granted. They provide valuable services to society—from serving up coffee at 5 am, to cleaning our bathrooms, to keeping watch over our homes and workplaces. Over the next few days we'll take a look at the lives of some individuals in the service industry who make it possible for us to get our jobs done, and are often overlooked. By answering a few questions, these folks give us a look at their lives.

First in the line-up is an administrative assistant named Alex.

Monday, May 10, 2010

For the Love of the Game: A Look at Fans and Disappointment

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgWhat does it mean to be a baseball fan? To exchange high fives with complete strangers utterly swept away with the exhilaration of a win? To sit in your car, despondent, after a devastating loss? What is the fan’s connection to this game—billed as America’s pastime?

Before delving into this post, it’s only fair to report that I myself am a fan. So this is in part a self-reflexive exercise to investigate some of my own responses to the team I follow. Consequently, I can’t guarantee an objective perspective here, but it will be honest. And I’m interested in learning if these ideas can be applied to sports in other places—so feel free to chime in at the end.

Blog News: Service in the City

Good Monday to you, Readers. I still haven't quite figured out what to do about the "In the News" feature, but it's on my mind. I'm also thinking of moving the blog to Wordpress. If you have strong feelings about that one way or the other, I'd be interested in hearing them. But I'll definitely keep you posted as that unfolds.

In the meantime, I wanted to draw your attention to a new exercise on my part highlighting the jobs of individuals in the service industry. This week on T/W/Th I'll be talking to three folks about their jobs. The posts are designed to be a short look at what these folks do and draw attention to the valuable services they provide, even if it tends to be overlooked by the majority.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Bullying and Emotional Intelligence on the Web

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgFormspring, a recent entry into the social networking milieu, is finally beginning to attract mainstream attention as parents and educators have to deal with the fallout from preteens and teens who are confronted with ugly criticism on the site. Formspring allows users to post and answer questions, some of which are rather personal. And as users link the site to Facebook and other popular social networking sites, they open themselves up to comments and questions from any number of people who can post anonymously if they so choose. Sexual history, bra size, and more are all fair game on the site. Questions are delivered to the user's inbox, and the user decides which to answer. Answered questions appear on the user's profile, and a surprising number of answered questions are of the anonymously submitted personal variety. Why? And what does this signify about the state of emotional intelligence with regard to the web?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Management of Personal Space (Part II)

From time to time on this blog, the issue/definition of public and private spaces occasionally arises. Specifically, what is acceptable public behavior?
  • How much space can an individual reasonably occupy—comfortably—before becoming obnoxious?
  • Should people refrain from using their mobile phones in public spaces?
  • Do fellow commuters have a right to ask iPod users to turn down their devices?
I have argued previously that many portable devices allow us to create a personal space in public areas. Mobile phones, for example, allow us to carry a portion of our network with us wherever we  go. And this is even more true as “smart phones” become more popular, allowing users to browse the Internet, watch videos, and share information with members of their social network from almost anywhere. It's almost as though we are never truly alone. And perhaps because people feel as though they're never alone, their perceptions of public and private are blurred. As a result, they feel that they can take certain liberties in public. [Left: Unshod and relaxing on the LIRR.]

Monday, May 3, 2010

On the Subway: Life Goes On

On Saturday night, a "crudely" constructed car bomb was located and dismantled in Times Square. While a certain degree of anxiety is to be expected, my fellow commuters seemed rather nonchalant about the whole deal this morning. While subway riders had their newspapers open to relevant stories, few folks were talking about the event. One gentleman remarked to a companion, "Glad they stopped it in time. But this is the world we live in—you try and plan to be safe and you do the best you can."

[Right: Subway riders catch up on the news.]

He then turned the page to what seemed to be bigger news, the Mets' loss to Philly over the weekend.

When The Human Network is a Digital One

Cisco's recent advertising campaign, featuring actress Ellen Page, has focused on the human network—a network that grows decidedly more digital with each passing day. The four Cisco ads take viewers on a tour through Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where Page visits familiar haunts and remarks on how things have changed since her last visit. The common thread in her wonderment? The connectivity of digital media.