Urban Anthropology in the 1980s: A World View



Roger Sanjek

Annual Review of A nthropo logy , VoL 19 (1990),151-186.

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http://www .j stor.org/ Fri Iul 2 17:45:39 2004

Annu Rev Amhropol. 1990 _ 19·151---Jj6

Copyright © 1990 by Annual Reviews Inc. Ail rights reserved


Roger Sanjek

Department of Anthropology, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, New York 11367-0904

KEY WORDS: Asia, United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa


In 1980 urban anthropology sat alongside ecological, economic, appl ied, political, legal, medical, educational, psychological, cognitive, symbolic, and aesthetic anthropologies; those "of religion," "of development," "of women," or "of gender"; and a continuing, if unraveling, substantive focus on kinship and social organization. The theoretical "movements" of the 1960s and 1970s (215), and curriculum organization and specialization in large United States graduate anthropology departments had both contributed to the balkanization of cultural and social anthropology. Never contrasted with a "rural anthropology," urban anthropology in 1980 was arguably the narrowest and theoretically least influential of all this brood.

"Urban anthropology" as a self-labeled body of research emerged in the 1960s; several texts, readers, and essay collections followed in the 1970s (cf Ill) . Urban anthropology claimed as its roots the work in the 1930s-1940s of W. Lloyd Warner and his students in Yankee City and Chicago, Robert Redfield in Yucatan, William Foote Whyte in Boston, and Godfrey Wilson in Broken Hill (Zambia). [Much of this work needs to be reread; what is living and dead in The Living and the Dead and the rest of the Yankee City corpus, for example, calls for fresh evaluation (see 283). The less widely recognized urban work from this era----e.g. of Ellen Hellmann in Johannesburg, Edward Spicer in Tucson, Arizona, William Bascom in Ife, Nigeria, and Bengt S undkler in South Africa-also deserves new artention.]


0084-6570/90/1015 -0151$02.00


More direct inspiration for the emergent 1960s urban anthropology came from the work of Oscar Lewis, Michael Young & Peter Willmott, Elizabeth Bott, R. P. Dore, Michael Banton, Aidan Southall & Peter Gutkind, J. Clyde Mitchell, and A. L. Epstein in the 1950s. Lasting contributions to urban anthropology in the 1960s and 1970s were registered by Peter Marris, Peter Lloyd, Kenneth Little, Valdo Pons, Abner Cohen, David Parkin, Niara Sudarkasa, Enid Schildkrout (all Africanists), Anthony Leeds, William Mangin, Shlomo Deshen, Sylvia Vatuk, Satish Saberwal, Milton Singer, Clifford Geertz, George W. Skinner, James B. Watson, Ezra Vogel, Thomas Rohlen, Herbert Gans, Eliot Liebow, Ulf Hannerz, James Spradley, and Carol Stack.

The distincti ve features of the 1950s-1970s urban anthropology are particular! y evident in three readers and a textbook published in the 1980s that look backward at this period (98, 99, 111, 227). Slightly caricatured (there were certain! y exceptions), these features were:

the exposure of urban poverty (with arguments pro or contra Oscar Lewis about its nature)

2. documentation of rural-urban migration ("'peasants in cities")

3. the ethnography of residential neighborhood life (""the urban village")

4. attention to the structure and "adaptive" functions of Voluntary associations (but not to their roles in grassroots and national politics)

5. demonstration of the "persistence" of extended kinship relations (but less concern abo lit why, or which relations)

6. Technical interest in schemes of role differentiation, and in network analysis (but little methodological testing of what network analysis is good for)

7. a fascination with ethnicity (especially as expressed in voting, violence, and entrepreneurship)

With the hindsight of the 19805, the liabilities of these urban anthropology heydays are easily identified:

I. Concern with the poor and urban migrants was not balanced by study of established working and middle classes, the rich, or policy makers; anthropologists did not "study lip"

2. Culturally significant pushes and pulls in rural-urban and international migration were not set within historical analysis of the global mobility and recornposition of capital; a "world system" perspective was missing.

3. Work sites and relations were slighted in cornparision to residential locations and acti vities.

4. Women, gender, and sexuality were barely visible.

5. A life-cycle perspective was absent; ethnography did not extend to youth, education,

learning/training, and the elderly.

6. Grassroots political action was rarely a central topic of study.

7. Urban religion, health care, and popular culture were of minor interest.

S. Urban anthropology stressed the order and connectedness of urban life; it did little to investigate or formulate ephemeral, transitory, or tangential social relations.


The 19805 In Review

This examination of anthropolo gy in cities during the 1980s is limited to work in English, largely by US, British, Indian, and Scandinavian anthropologists. It covers comprehensively fieldwork-based ethnography (259, 260) published in books, including those in three series that pay particular attention to urban anthropology-the Anthropology of Work series, edited by June Nash (32, 76, 203-204, 213, 236); Stockholm Studies in Social Anthropology, overseen by Ulf Hannerz (26,29,73, 114, 193,231,240,243,302,311,331); and the Anthropology of Contemporary Issues series, edited by Roger Sanjek (64, 90, 93, 106, 121, 124, 146, 149, 152,218,248,278,280,294,308,320,325, 334). It also includes articles published in the two leading journals of social and cultural anthropology, American Ethnologist and Man. With some exceptions, it does not survey work in other journals (either those featuring urban anthropology-Cilies and Society, Urban Antropology---or further afield), urban chapters in edited volumes, dissertations, meetings or conference papers, or the "gray" literature of project reports and research center working papers. The review is restricted, with minor inconsistencies, to the work of anthropologists, and does not deal with allied and relevant work from sociologists, social historians, or "native" documentarians (but see 279, 282). L

For several reasons, this review does not examine discussions of "what is the city" or definitions and typologies of urbanism (see 98,99, 111,227). Anthropologists devoted considerably fewer pages to such meditations in the 1980s than in the 1960s-1970s, and any sound review of these themes would have to extend to work in history, geography, political economy, ecology, and archaeology. Moreover, authoritative essays on these topics by Hannerz (118, Ch, 3), Leeds (158), and Southall (288) invite little improvement. Nonetheless, Wirth's classic identification of "heterogeneity" and "density" as markers of urbanism (98, 99, 227) has inspired less consideration of these two properties by anthropologists than might prove useful. Studies of individual ethnic populations (20, 25,26, 39,49, 52,67, 80,82,83,93,97, 114, 142, 146, 149, 154, 155, 161,189,208,212,223,280,297,298,300, 304, 309, 317, 326, 328, 330, 333, 334) continued to be more numerous in the 1980s than approaches to the social organization of urban ethnic diversity (16,27,51,57,135,136,144,152,185,239,257,276,281, 283, 290, 294, 325). Research touching on the interrelations among density, power, and the uses of urban space (6-8, 10, 18, 24, 34, 46, 50, 105, 130, 131, 163, 165, 167, 185, 211, 222, 252-253, 255, 285, 307, 321, 322, 323) awaits comparative formulation.

I [ also note here three books based on research cond u cted in the 1930s (191, 285, 190), and two collections of papers first published in the 1960s (104,314). Though not reflecting the urban anthropology of the 1980s, these five books have considerable merit.


Urban Anthropology as Anthropology

Despite the volume of books by anthropologists in the 1980s based upon research in cities, "urban anthropology" as we knew it in the 1950s-1970s is dead. Little of the work reviewed here relates at all intellectually to that distinctive urban anthropology, nor was the correction of its liabilities that occurred during the 1980s the result of concerted attempts to do so. One of the strongest theoretical messages of urban anthropology was argued eloquently from the mid-1960s on by Leeds-"No Towne is an Islande of Itselfe"; cities are nodes within societies, or social formations (158). Urban social relations are conducted within and contexrualized by state and state-regulated institutions concerned with education, communication, transportation, production, commerce, welfare, worship, civic order, housing, and land use (see 6-8,35,36,40,42,55,67,70,87,91, 109, 170, 174,209,210,226,242, 248, 250, 255, 284, 286-289, 319, 322, 327). Leeds has been heard, or at least his rnessge is now more nearly taken for granted. Accordingly, the study of such relations and institutions in peri-urban or trans-urban settings (2, 10, 34, 93, 105, 150, 187,208,213, 231,319) is difficult and unnecessary to separate from "urban anthropology."

As is occurring in legal anthropology (292), so urban anthropology is diffus ing into a reintegrated social -cultural anthropology (see also 107). It makes little difference whether one labels such significant books as Gullestad's Kitchen-Table Society (12) anthropology of gender or urban anthropology; Kleinman's Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture (43) medical or urban anthropology; Lave's Cognition in Practice (156) cognitive or urban anthropology; Rohlen's Japan's High Schools (237) educational or urban anthropology; Westwood's All Day, Every Day (318) anthropology of work or urban anthropology; or Yanagisakos Transforming the Past (333) symbolic anthropology, or study of kinship and marriage, or urban anthropology, Sacks's important Caring by the Hour (245) is simultaneously urban anthropology, political anthropology, medical anthropology, anthropology of women, and anthropology of work.

By the end of the 1990s, more than half the world's six billion people will live in cities; twenty of those cities will house more than 11 million persons each. The proportion of city dwellers will slope upward even further in the next century. Anthropologies, if not yet a unified anthropology, will follow this transition, displacing "urban anthropology." As this movement of anthropologies into cities was already under way in the 1980s, many of the liabilities of the old urban anthropology were overcome.

1. Urban classes other than the poor and migrants (4, 9, 12, 20, 24, 42--45, 51, 64, 77, 78, 87, 94, 1l2, 1l5, 122, 127, 129, 134, 139, 146, 157, 161, 168, 171, 174, 177-182, 184, 188,206,207,211,212,217,218,125,233,234,137,291,325, 327, 330), and


also policy makers (2, 11,45, L09, [[5, 199,203,222,231,250,315,316,322), received eth nog ra phic sc rut i n y .

2. A political-economic perspective on urban migration found increasing acceptance (5, 29,50,67,76,97, 121, 118, 129, 142,147,150, 174,204,205,209,213,224,236, 248, 276, 307,319).

3, An urban anthropology of work blossomed (I, 2, 6, 9, 13, 21, 38, 47, 50, 55, 56, 58, 61,67,76,87, !O2, !O3, 1l5, 121,129,147,150---152, 166, 173, 181, 182, 187, 203-207,212,213,218,224,226,232,236,238,240, 245-247, 271,278,282,285, 294, 300, 311, 318, 319, 330, 334).

4. Women, gender, and sexuality became visible as the feminist advances of the 1970s were consolidated in studies of urban life (4, 13, 21, 29,31,32,38,42,45,47,50,55, 61, 64, 72, 76, 88, 95-97, 112, 121, 122, 134, 135, 147, 151, 152, 157, 162, 187, 194,204,205,209,213,214,217,223-226,235,238, 243-247,253,254,266,268, 269,271,273,275,279,282,291,295,296,302, 303, 311,315,318, 323, 324,327, 331, 333, 334).

5. Urban ethnography was extended throughout the life cycle, to research on youth and education (38, 46, 69, 81, 84, 85, 93, LOO, 101, 113, 176, 237, 264, 265, 267, 273, 294, 309, 331), learning and training (6[,73,78, 102, 127, (56), and the middle-aged and elderly (19, 28, 68, 86, 126, 133, 225, 24[, 255, 256, 268, 269, 277-279, 30 I, 305, 308).

6. Grassroots politics (10, 14, 24, 27, 31,40, 51,70,92, 139, 165, 167, 170, 193, 196, 218, 231, 276, 279, 281, 295, 296, 307, 313, 325) and workplace struggle (31, 151, 152, 173, 199, 232, 237, 240, 245, 246, 334) became important research topics.

7. Urban religion received considerable attention (7,8,23,24,35,36, 39,44,62,63,79, 89, 106, !O8, 123, 124, 139, 141, 145, 146, 148, 153, 173, [75, 183, 195, 200---202, 216, 220, 22[, 228, 261, 280, 293, 320, 332); so did health care (74, 124, 130, 131, 143, 168, 169, 172, 177, 194, 195,211, 234,243,245, 256, 263,270, 277,278,315) and urban popular and public culture (20, 33,46, 51,52,59,61,69, 73,78, 105, 119, [20, 125, 136, 198, 234, 272, 304, 325, 331).

8. Ethnographic interest in ephemeral, transitory, and tangential social relations emerged, perforce, in studies of homeless persons and the isolated elderly (18, 28, 68, 130, 131, 241,249, 255) and of personal service workers (47,50,55,61,97, 121, [82,224,238, 271,278,282, 285); major theoretical perspectives (to which we shall ret u rn) on limited sociality in urban "pathways" and on "traffic" relations were developed by Finnegan (78) and Hannerz (118).


Rather than offer an extended consideration of the urban-situated theoretical output of topical anthropologies in the 1980s (a variable in many other Annual Review articles), the middle section of this review takes a substantive tum. We embark on a brief world tour, via urban ethnography, to identify issues, processes, and locales of attention and neglect in the United States (with separate attention to New York City), the Caribbean and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia and Oceania. This section is intended to build the case that in the coming decade and century anthropology should be evaluated as much on


the basis of what it documents and explains in the urban half of the world as on the basis of its theoretical contributions to itself.

The United States

The scope of US urban anthropology widened dramatically during the 1980s. Ethnographers "studied up," with Marcus's work on the fiduciary and familial dynamics of inherited wealth (178-180), Ostrander's study of the domestic and community management roles of "upper crust," Junior League Women (217; cf 188), and Weatherford's historically informed account of Congressional patronage and ritual (316). Anthropologists also studied "up and down," examining interaction among regulators, policy makers, workers and consumers (2, 199, 203, 295, 296, 315).

Beneath the upper class and the upper middle class [little investigated aside from work on gentrifiers or unemployed managers (207, 325)], and above the very poor, is the massive self-designated "middle class"-the pink, white, and blue collared American lower-middle and working classes (see 64, 233, 244). Largely white, of world-wide political and cultural (119) influence, this population and its stresses was of central interest to anthropologists in the 1980s. Male construction workers (9) and truck drivers (2), and female factory (31, 151, 152, 246, 334), hospital (245), office (31, 246), and household workers (31 , 97, 238) were studied at the workplace, in the context of deindustrialization, deregulation, union politics, racism for nonwhite workers, gender discrimination for women workers, and insecurity of employment. The political economy and personal aftershocks of factory closing and unemployment were also examined (203,206,207,218), as was downward mobility within the working class (206, 325).

The domestic lives of these middle-class/working-class Americans were strained, troubled, and under ideological barrage during the 1980s. Households of two or more generations required two or more waged workers for survival; and "housework," continuing to be mainly women's work, was performed by many as part of a lengthy double day (64, 151, 152, 233, 244, 334). Di Leonardo showed how maintenance of wider kinship networks also remained women's work (64).

Neat structural-functional linkages between family and society were exhausted by the 1980s. Instead of seeking such linkages, Quinn undertook the examination of cultural metaphor in American conceptions of marriage (229- 230); Modell (192) questioned Schneider's symbolic analysis of American kinship via study of "birthparents" who gave up their offspring for adoption; Lewin studied lesbian motherhood (162); Rapp probed the new technological en vironrnent for family decis ions about birth (234); and Ginsberg studied family-policy activists both favoring and opposing abortion (95, 96). "Displaced homemakers," the growing population of divorced, deserted, and


widowed women hesitatingly entering the job market-and including overburdened caregivers of disabled husbands or parents, and downwardly mobile upper-middle-class women (206)-were given definition by Shields, who also chronicled the social movement to organize and ad vocate for them (279).

Several studies of the social life of retired Americans appeared in the 1980s under the "anthropology of aging" banner. Single-room-occupancy hotel dwellers (28, 68, 301) and isolated widowers or never-marrieds (241) were found to have few or strained family connections. Becker's study of deaf older persons, however, revealed networks within the non hearing world persisting into old age (19). Francis's comparisons of retirees in senior citizen housing in Cleveland and Leeds, England, found that the American elders felt more isolated (86). A study of California older persons living in their own homes identified substantial satisfaction in the interaction, and isolated leisure, of art, bicycling, social dancing, and "gleaning," a Sunbelt activity in vol ving consumption and distribution of surplus foodstuffs (305). Vesperi probed the social construction of "old" for Florida retirees in their interaction with service providers (308). Shield's study of a nursing home also depicted consumer-provider relationships, as well as the institutional setting in which most urban Americans now die (278).

Community-based health clinics were an important research locus, with anthropologists documenting how elderly (256), feminist (31, 194), and Puerto Rican (263) activists struggled for access to appropriate health care. In a rich ethnography, Estroff portrayed young psychiatric patients living "in the community," and their relationship to an after-care clinic, the source of their "rneds" (74) . Schwartzman analyzed the internal political processes of a community mental health clinic (270). Other researchers studied community activism in relation to social services and education (31), and working-class involvement in registering complaints, mediating disputes, and going to court (34, 186, 199).

The evolving textures of ethnic, racial, and religious identities were prime territory for anthropologists in the 1980s, though many cultural questions here remain open. Owing to continuing immigration, differential fertility rates, and intermarriage, by the year 2100 whites, the historic majority, will constitute less than 50% of the US population. Ethnic ascription by white Americans is now undergoing important change (159). In the 1980 census, half of this population claimed multiple European national ancestries, while a smaller but rapidly growing white segment saw themselves as "American" only, claiming no European national "roots." The 1980 census also found that while the husbands of African American women were 1 % nonblack, those of Puerto Rican women were 21% non-Puerto Rican; of Mexican American women, 24% non-Mexican American; of Asian women, 35% non-Asian; and of "other Hispanic" women, 57% non-Hispanic. Most of the husbands of


these women were white, and outmarried men of each of these groups also added to a growing number of white/nonwhite intermarriages.

Di Leonardo identified the class, work situation, and gender components of persisting and declining Italian American identity in California (64). Kugelmass edited a set of studies of Jewish populations differing in religious commitment and expression, and recency of arrival in the United States (146; cf 198). Greenhouse studied a well-off Atlanta surburban white population for whom their Baptist identity, significant in many daily-life arenas, overrode any expression of ethnicity (106; cf 123). Other ethnographic work depicted similar identity-laden social worlds in which ethnicity (or even race) may become moot: Hayano's study of professional gambling (125), Whitehead's of Scientology (320, which is also an important analysis of religious and pyschotherapeutic conversion), and Read's of bar-centered working class (pre-AIDS) homosexual life (235). Eckert's fascinating study in a white Detroit suburban high school depicted the teenage identities, linked to class and post-high school careers, of "jocks," "burnouts," and "in-betweens" (69).

The urban ethnography of African Americans in the 1980s began with an account of "genuine" and "mainstream" life-styles in a poor neighborhood (326) and several studies of Black English (17, 81, 100, 101, 144), all looking back to the urban anthropology of the 1960s-1970s. Here Baugh's work was especially valuable for its historical and dynamic approach to the African American speech continuum (17), and Kochman's for viewpoints on oral and per formative aspects in comparison with white middle-class speech (144). The ethnographic compass widened with Bell's language-oriented portrait of a clearly mainstream black middle-class Philadelphia bar (20), Rollins's study of household workers and white employers (238), and Dominguez's social history of Creole identity in Louisiana (65). These three works pointed to restoration of the interest in black-white race relations that Warner and his colleagues pioneered in pre-rurban anthropology" days but that was not evident in the 1960s-1970s.

Race relations was indeed the central topic of three books-Merry's study of the perception of danger in a racially mixed housing project (185), Sheehan's account of school integration struggles as seen from a white working-class neighborhood (276), and Williams's ethnography of established African American residents and the immigrants and white gentrifiers now part of their daily lives (325). Williams also described downward mobility in the Reagan years of job loss and cutbacks for many children of the Washington DC African American working class. Such social pressures, plus those of school achievement while not "acting white," confronted African American high school students, as analyzed in Fordham's important research (84, 85; cf 176 on white and African American teenagers; and 69).


Mexican American "cholo" teens who drop out of school and join gangs, not all of which are drug using, were studied by Vigil (309). Less culturally distinctive, and more embedded in working-class routines are the long-term "seasonal" Chicana cannery workers whose work and home lives were analyzed by Zavella (334). Two studies of West Coast Japanese Americans also related work and home life, and provided social historical accounts of the culturally defined imigrant issei and American-born nisei generations (97, 333).

Few accounts of post-1965 "new immigrant" groups (outside New York City) appeared during the 1980s, though many will be forthcoming in the 1990s. Lamphere (151, 152) studied contemporary Portuguese and Colombian working-class families in the context of a social history of factory and labor organization in a Rhode Island city. Two studies in California focused on schools: one on Chinese immigrant students and bilingual education (113), the other on scholastic success among Punjabi Sikh high school students, a study that also probed social aspects of mediocre school performance among white American adolescents (93; cf 69, 84, 85). Woolard (329) analyzed an English Only ballot initiative campaign in San Francisco, no doubt foreshadowing other studies of reaction by white segments to racial and social change in the United States.

A chilling account by Ley ton (163) of the urban phenomenon of mass and serial muder revealed the very small social networks of the killers, who are mainly working or lower middle class, and white; their unsettled childhoods, characterized by several maternal marriages; their failed social mobility; and their satisfaction in achieving notoriety. The social conditions underlying such behaviors are intensifying; multiple murder is occurring now in all advanced industrial societies, and has "taken off' from one or two US cases per decade before 1960, to six in the 1960s, 17 in the 1970s, and 25 cases during 1980-1984.

New York City

More than any other US city, New York is a world city, heart to a planetary circulatory system of ideas, people, and artifacts. In the year 2000 it will be one of six cities greater in size than 15 million persons, and the only one in the West. 2 During the 1980s it was the site of more published ethnographic work than any other US city, including pioneering work on "new immigrants" and homelessness.

New Yorkers tend to live in the neighborhoods that are either predominantly white or black, or racially very mixed (including Latin Americans

'The cities will be Mexico City, 26 million; Sao Paulo, 25 million; Tokyo-Yokohama, 17 million; Calcutta and Greater Bombay, 16 million each; New York, 15 million.


and Asians), and much of the research in the 1980s continued to be neighborhood based. Tricarico's excellent study of Greenw ich Village depicted a waning Italian residential neighborhood, buffeted by the departure of the third generation and the arrival of gentrifiers, Reform politicians, and new Mafia investment (304). A study of a Bronx Italian neighborhood presented less drastic change but described ethnic violence between immigrant Albanians and Puerto Rican residents (154). Susser (295, 296) studied a mixed white ethnic and Puerto Rican Brooklyn neighborhood, focusing on local political response to social service cutbacks. Sheehan's portrait of an Irish workingclass Brooklyn woman detailed the bureaucratic maze that many elderly persons needing supportive services confront (277; cf 255). Kugelmass recorded the life of a remnant congregation of elderly Jews in the largely black and Puerto Rican South Bronx (14.5); essays in edited volumes offered glimpses of diverse Jewish neighborhoods and groups elsewhere in the city (83, 146).

In another South Bronx study, Harwood (124) examined Puerto Rican spiritism and its therapeutic aspects from several complementary theoretical perspectives (cf 108). Lopez (172) probed social constraints and perceived choice in decisions about sterilization for Puerto Rican women in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Sharff's vivid ethnography detailed the impact of structural conditions on adult and child "underground" economic activity among Puerto Rican Lower East Siders (273, 274). No books on African American neighborhoods appeared in the 1980s, but Sullivan (294) included a mainly black housing project area in his three-neighborhood comparison of teenage crime and job opportunities for working class white, Puerto Rican, and African American Brooklyn youth. Castleman's sharp portrait of subway graffiti spray-paint "writers" and their work also concerned youth of varied racial backgrounds (182).

Wong's work on Manhattan Chinatown (83, 328) described both an established Toysan enclave and the arrival of post-1965 immigrants, mainly Cantonese; though neighborhood-based, Wong focused on internal cultural and social processes, like most studies of new immigrant groups in New York. Other such work concerned Indians (80), Jamaican and other Englishspeaking West Indians (82-83, 297), Haitians (83, 149, 297), Dominicans (83, 223, 297), and Koreans (83, 142). Shokeid's rich study of Israeli emigrants in Queens (280) examined relations with American Jews as well as political and cultural issues.

Building on this body of work, other studies contextualized new immigrant groups within the diverse ethnic/racial interactional and political environment of the city and its neighborhoods. Gregory (108) studied Cuban- African American-Puerto Rican interaction in Santeria,· Georges (92) discussed Dominican organizations in Washington Heights in relation to both home


country and local politics; Colen (47,55) studied West Indian women household workers and their upper-middle-class white employers, giving due to the political economy of immigration policy; Kasinitz & Freidenberg-Hcrbscein (136) compared the civic politics of the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the West Indian American Day Carnival.

A 1983-1989 research project I directed in Queens studied a white-blackAsian-Latin American neighborhood. Our team members had the ethnic backgrounds and spoke the languages of both established Americans and new immigrants (257). The results of this multiple look at relations among diverse groups are beginning to appear-an ethnography of the class-stratified, residentially dispersed Taiwan immigrant population and its relationships with Koreans and white Americans (48); a comparison of Latin American Protestants in Spanish and white American churches (62); and studies of how religion both reaffirms immigrant cultures and unites diverse congregations in worship and social activity (220, 261).

The central precincts of Manhattan were studied from two viewpoints-that of peak daytime use of open space, isolating the conditions that encourage and impede sitting and congregating (321); and the nighttime use of public places for sleeping by homeless persons. Baxter & Hopper's ethnographic work identified causes of homelessness, the contradictions of "emergency" shelter policy, and the ever increasing, ever more diverse population (18, 130, 131, 249; cf 255). Yet this work has not disarmed the logic of a homeless woman in Grand Central Station who said in 1980, "It must be some kind of experiment or something, to see how long people can survive without food, without shelter, without security" (249).

The Caribbean and Latin America

Diverse interests rather than any central research tradition marked urban anthropological research in the Caribbean. In Kingston , Jamaica, Austin (12) combined participant observation with analysis of taped interview texts to contrast culture and ideology in two working-class and middle-class neighborhoods; and Bolles (204, 205) studied female factory workers, using a political-economic analytic approach. A Trinidad study concerned informal relations among a group of male drug dealers (164). Silvera (282) gave vivid expression to the experience, as household workers in Canada, of West Indian women emigrating to better their own and their children's lives, complementing Colen's research in New York. Laguerre (148) documented the religious culture of a voodoo congregation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In Cuba, Butterworth (40) studied the neighborhood social and political life of former slumdwellers relocated in government housing. Though part of a project directed by Oscar Lewis to explicate the "culture of poverty," Butterworth found this concept logically and methodologically wanting.


Unifying themes are easier to locate in urban anthropological studies in continental Latin America: political economyl"world captitalist system"/ Marxist approaches, and interests in women workers, local politics, and personal and societal aspects of rel igion were evident during the 1980s. While a regional overview early in the decade looked back to 1950s-1970s "urban anthropology" topics (41), two collections of essays (204, 205, including some Caribbean contributions) focused on women factory workers and market traders, and Chaney & Castro's Muchachas No More (47) brought into the foreground the massive numbers of Latin American urban female household workers (cf 50, 55, 97, 121, 238, 282).

In Mexico, Lornnitz & Perez-Lizaur (171) studied "up" and "back," producing a multi-generation social history of an elite and middle-class family ramage. In greater Mexico City, Velez-Ibanez (307) used cases of local struggles in a former squatter area to clarify broader cooptative processes in Mexican politics; he also studied the significance of horizontal social relations for urban Mexicans (306, 307). In path-breaking studies, Fernandez-Kelly in a US border city (76) and Beneria & Roldan in Mexico City (21) studied factory and home-located female industrial production, and traced its implications for gender relations and class formation. Studying regional cities, Logan (170) surveyed a privately developed surburb of Guadalajara. From a Marxist standpoint Higgins (128) offered a personal essay on the urban poor in Oaxaca, and sympathetically reconsidered the formulations of his teacher, Oscar Lewis.

Reminiscent of Redfield's 1930s rural-urban Yucatan work, Bossen's study (32) of Guatemalan productive, reproductive, and gender roles compared a Mayan village, a plantation labor force, a squatter settlement, and a middleclass neighborhood. Two ethnographies of urban neighborhoods in Sandinista Nicaragua focused on domestic culture and politics (70) and on popular Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism in this revolutionary setting (153). An article on Ecuador dealt with diversity among Protestant groups (183). Brown's social historical and ethnographic studies of Umbanda (35, 36) tied its cross-class religious appeals to Brazilian politics and ideologies of race. Peattie (222) assessed the role of bureaucrats and experts in planning Ciudad Guyana, a Venezuelan "new city," and identified conflicting professional, political, and economic interests in the process.

In the Andean nations, studies in Colombia (29, 37) focused on gender relations. Bohman's superb ethnography of purdah-like conditions (29; cf. 266, 324) among poor Medellin married women also examined the ideological role of Roman Catholicism and "tele novelas" in these arrangements. Two books on women in Peruvian cities (13, 38) portrayed economically active market traders and household workers, raising important questions about women's (and children's) economic significance through work in the "in-


formal economy." Lloyd's and Lobo's studies (165, 167) of Lima squatter neighborhoods, drawing substantial numbers of residents from particular highland communities, were rounded ethnographies, each emphasizing involvement in both formal and informal sectors by the settlements' residents. Lloyd carefully distinguished squatter areas from other urban neighborhood types; and a study (94) of corporate features of two Lima upper-class descent groups provided evidence of the social ties within elite residential areas. Laite's book (150) on a highland Peru mining town probed the nature of its male urban migrant proletariat (cf 129, 166, 173, 236). Whiteford's account (319) of Bol i vian migrant workers on Argentine plantations traced them to subsequent urban settlement; as in Laite' s study, considerations of international capital movement and the political economy of migration signaled the advances made over 1950s-1970s "urban anthropology."


An urban social anthropology of Britain dates to the 1950s; Gluckman's role in it was recounted by Frankenberg (87) in introducing a set of Manchesterinfluenced essays on urban institutions. This tradition continued with Mars's and Nicod' s studies (181, 182) of workplace crime ("fiddles") and restaurants, and with Hazan's book on the social construction of dependency in a London senior citizen center (126; cf 278, 308.) In perhaps the finest urban ethnography of the 1980s, Finnegan (78) profiled middle- and working-class "hidden musicians" in a B uckinghamshire "new city," analyzing oral and written modes of mus ic learning, creativity, and the organization of performance among classical, brass band, folk, musical theater, jazz, country and western, and rock amateur musicians.

Studies of "New Commonwealth" immigrants also emerged within this British workplace/community ethnographic tradition. In South London, Wallman's team (312, 313) studied politics and household organization in a working-class neighborhood, one third immigrant, where local identity was as important as race; indeed a black mayor and Indian MP had been elected there early in the century. Also in South London, Benson's detailed work (22) on black-white marriages depicted variety in spousal networks and kin acceptance; and Wulff's study (331) of a white and second-generation black British group of teenage girls focused on maturation, erhnicity, and youth culture. Firmly in the Manchester tradition was Cohen's analysis (51, 87) of the evolving cultural politics of a West Indian London carnival (cf 136). Westwood's excellent book (318) on a knitting factory exposed work culture ties among British and East African refugee Gujarati women. Neither neighborhood nor workplace situated, and similar to much US ethnic group research, were several studies of South Asians [which collectively pointed to considerable reproduction of caste and communal particularities among the immigrant


generation (25,39,300,317)], and of West Africans (102) and Armenians (298).

The urban ethnography of Western Europe presented an uneven picture: virtually nothing in English on Germany, Denmark, the Benelux countries, Austria, or Switzerland. 3 Certain I y the 1980s United States-British lack of interest in urban research in these countries (and in Eastern Europe) differed from that in Japan (see below) and is likely to change in the 1990s, in view of ongoing political and economic events. Urban France was the scene of a study of French-immigrant institutional relations by Grillo (109, who cites work from a French urban studies tradition). Norway produced Gullestad's fine book (112) on young working-class women, with careful ethnographic attention to concepts of class, uses of the home, visiting and entertainment, and sexuality and attractiveness. In all continental Europe, Sweden was site of the most urban anthropology, with studies of Assyrian and Turkish immigrants in interaction with Swedish welfare institutions, the organization of the Stockholm art world, class and culture among factory workers, and a Pietist church (26, 73, 240, 243, 293).

In southern Europe during the 1980s the city as fieldwork site caught up with the village and agro- town. The established Mediterraneanist research agenda continued to be evident, but so were newer theoretical currents (197, 219). Kenny, a pioneer of urban work in Spai n, and Kertzer, who produced a valuable book on Catholicism and communism in working-class Bologna (139), edited a collection of overviews and ethnographic essays on urban life in Spain, Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia (137). McDonogh's social historical study of the Barcelona industrial elite dealt with power, status, and symbolism (184); also in Spain, Thuren (302) examined ideology and experience as patriarchal gender relations shifted, with "progress," toward equality in Valencia.

Several books concerning rural Eastern Europe appeared in the 1980s, but Sampson's study (250) of conflicting interests in a growing Romanian town was the single urban monograph. Harm (116) identified the issues of interest to both foreign and native scholars in post-detente Hungary and Poland, and mentioned urban research as yet unpublished or untranslated into English. In the USSR, the pre-glasnost period allowed similarly for rural research by Western anthropologists, but only one book in the 1980s, a compilation of interviews with Moscow women by two Swedish researchers (122; cf 327), can be judged an urban ethnography. Thoughtful reviews of the work of Soviet anthropologists (66, 132) hinted that continuing interests in ethnic groups may be leading to more ethnographic, and less ethnological, research modes, and to work in cities. Excellent political and sociological overviews

'A paper on Surinam entrepreneurs in Holland (30) cited several Dutch language urban studies. Whether a German language urban anthropology of Europe exists I do no! know.


of the USSR (53, 138) suggest a host of urban anthropological questions that one hopes will begin to receive answers in the perestroika era and what follows.

The Middle East and North Africa

War, oil, religious revival, and ethnic complexity all affected anthropological consideration of urban life in the Middle East and North Africa during the 1980s. In an intricate, deft analysis of the significance and disappearance of working-class women's inter-religious networks in urban Lebanon, Joseph (35) weaved in constitutional ethnic arrangements, social service patronage, bank collapse and petrodollar flight, Israeli-Arab conflicts, arrival of masses of poor Syrian and Palestinian Muslims, civil war from 1975, and subsequent deliberate dismantling of residential neighborhoods by political elites. Altorki & Cole (5) produced a study of social change in central Arabian 'Unayzab before, during, and after the post-1973 oil boom. Also in Arabia, Altorki (4) analyzed generational and gender relations among the upper class of Jiddah; Field (77) dealt with the business and political dimensions of these and other Arabian and Gulf elite families.

Fischer (79) used his fieldwork on urban Shi'ne religious education to underpin a cultural and political interpretation of the 1977-1979 revolution in Iran. Cultural analysis also marked Rosen's essay (239) on individual calculation in social relations, including those among Arabs, Berbers, and Jews, in Sefrou, Morocco. The cultural organization of ethnic heterogeneity and interpersonal transaction were Barth's themes (16) in Sohar, Oman; a companion book on Sohar by Wikan (324) dealt with female visiting, veiling, concepts of gender, and marriage, impressively employing hard-won speechin-action field data. Wikan (323) earlier studied social relations and networks among working-class Cairo housewives, bringing a fresh perspective to the 1960s culture-of-poverty debate. A study of a development project in Syria (231) compared perceptions and interests of town and village dwellers, and state bureaucrats.

In Israel, ethnic relations and politics among North African Jews, "veteran Israelis," and Arabs were the focus of informative essays by Shokeid & Deshen (281), based on several urban fieldwork projects. Aronoff (1) analyzed public ceremonial episodes of legitimacy-building by the Likud government (1977-1984) in Israel, including a reburial of anti-Roman Jewish resisters' remains, an event boycotted by the archaeologists who discovered them.


Africa was the location of landmark studies in the urban anthropology of the 1950s-1970s; and significant last chapters to the earlier urban research careers there of Cohen, Epstein, and Mitchell were published during the 1980s. In


addition, work on religion, adaptation to economic uncertainty, urban politics, household workers, and popular culture widened the spectrum of topics addressed in monographs from previous decades.

For West Africa comparatively, Goody (102) surveyed urban apprenticeship, placing it within her consideration of child fostering in the region (for a critique, see 258). A variety of accounts of urban migration and male and female experience is found in two essay volumes (67, 214). In Senegambia, Wagner (311) studied female production and marketing of cloth [0 tourists, and Nolan (208) looked at urban and rural communities linked by labor migration. Cohen's book (52), expanding on a classic 1971 paper, examined public culture, status symbolism, and Masonic lodges among the Sierra Leone CreoLes in Freetown. An Ivory Coast study (155) described generational, religious, and wealth differentiations among Muslim Juula urban weavers (cf 103).

In Ghana, Wyllie (332) studied Christian spiritualism and healing in Winneba; Mullings (195) compared similar practices in Accra with traditional Ga healing and biomedical psychotherapy, evaluating efficacy, access, and cultural appropriateness in all three systems. Another book concerning the Accra Gas dealt with polyglot "linguistic culture" within a single lineage (60). My own papers (254, 255) on an ethnically diverse Accra neighborhood probed how class differences, based on relations to production, were mediated by inter-household ties of social reproduction, and how domestic cycles were fundamentally different for women and men.

A richl y textured political history of a Lagos surburb by Barnes (14) treated the bases of leadership, and the politics of urban chieftaincy. Hannerz (120) raised analytic issues about the sources, continuities, penetrations, and flows in Nigerian urban popular culture, and about "culture" itself. In northern Nigeria, an impressive study by Lubeck (173) covered class formation, politics, and the impact of the oil boom on workers and on Islam in Kana. In the same city, Schildkrout's series of papers (264-269) examined child labor and women in and out of purdah; Besmer's monograph (23) treated the social and conceptual organization of urban Hausa spirit possession.

In the increasingly unsettled environment of Kampala, Obbo (209) focused on women commodity producers and traders in two low-income suburbs; she covered the causes of female urban migration, "shuttlers" who maintain both urban and rural residence and economic interests, Islamicization of women who adopt the urban "Nubi" identity, and public campaigns vilifying female independence and its sartorial symbols. Obbo and Southall (210, 287, 289) also addressed in wider terms the changing urban political economy of Uganda. As in that country, in Zaire economic chaos, uncertainty, and whims of ruling political groups structure urban life. J. MacGaffey's highly informative study (174) of the "second economy" in Kisangani creatively used


concepts of underdevelopment, modes of production, and articulation to portray the rise and operations of a new indigenous capitalist class and its inventive solutions to problems of supply, distribution, labor commitment, political harassment, and capital access." W. MacGaffey's lucid account (175) of prophets and their followings in Zaire married historical, political, and cultural analyses.

Zambia's Copperbelt was a proving ground for Manchester's rnethodological innovations in 1950s-1960s urban anthropology (cf 118, Ch. 4). Epstein's capstone to 30 years of publication on research there (72) was a mature example of the situational and quantitative analysis of urban kinship, marital relations, and social organization generally; the conclusion that "tribalism" was absent from neighborhood interaction, and the cultural account of sexuality, were two of several noteworthy aspects of this book. Epstein's colleague Mitchell's book (190) reworked earlier analyses of labor migration, perceptions of urban life and occupational prestige, and categorical erhniciry, in a broad-ranging synthesis on urban life and method. Hansen's historical and ethno graphic study of male household workers (121) brought to the anthropol- 0gy of Zambia a sophisticated treatment of gender and class, and exposed work and workpLaces largely hidden in the "urban anthropology" era literature.

Cock's equally impressive study of female household workers in South Africa (50) similarly joined history and ethnography, analyzing changing racial and gender bases of labor supply and the impact of apartheid on the women who do this work. Other aspects of Black South African life addressed during the 1980s were independent Zionist churches (141) and the social history of the urban popular music that is today attracting growing global appreciation (59).

South Asia

Saberwal's broad approach (242) to the clash of indigenous and imposed institutions and values in India, and its relevance to persisting "communalism," sets terms in which the 1980s anthropological literature on urban India is ultimately to be assessed by Indians and Indianists, This literature can conveniently be arranged by the categories of urban religion, work, class and studies of women.

"'This study raised a question for me about Marxist social science scholarship: Why is it presented in such rigid, theoretical terms, cloaked with the finality of politically correct "laws," when in practice ethnographic insight is essential to discoveries such as those of MacGaffey? Any Marxist work that explicates as much as does this book is based on research considerably more open than its rhetoric admits; the criticism Marxist scholars make of each other sometimes in fact depends on ethnographic validation (259), even if presented in terms of superior theoretical precision.


All four interests were present in the noteworthy confluence of research attention on urban Tamilnadu. In Madras, Tamilnadu's capital and India's fourth largest city, Appadurai (7, 8) identified the past and present diversity of interests in Hindu temple operations, and the continuing mediatory role of legal tribunals invented under British rule; Fuller's complementary Madurai temple study (89) focused on Brahman priests and their work. Mines (189) traced the town-centered regional history of territorial (and later caste) associations and cooperatives for a "left hand" weaver caste. Ramaswamy's ethnography of Coimbatore textile workers (232) surveyed factory conditions, unionism, and the strength of working-class over caste identification. Looking historically at Madras, Lewandowski's book (161) dealt with white-collar migrants, their associations, and the emergence of a class- and religiondifferentiated Kerala ethnic group in Tamilnadu.

Three more studies also concerned Madras, including Wiebe's account (322) of housing projects, their mainly poor tenants, and the social workers who provide services to them. L. Caplan's well-wrought portrait of middleand working-class Madras Christianity (44) presented a theoretically reasoned cultural approach to class in India-an approach applicable elsewhere. He noted as well the diverging social implications of marriage-intensification of links at the bottom of the class ladder, extension of links at the top (see also 43), P. Caplan (45) portrayed the home and social welfare organization life of middle-class and elite Madras Hindu women.

Elsewhere in India, urban religion was addressed in studies of an Orissa temple (228) and Benares priests (221), and in astor's interpretive analysis of festivals in a Bengali town (216).

Work was the topic of Holmstrom's major book (129), which while focused on Bangalore and Bombay was of larger import. The constitution and interrelations of the "organized" and "unorganized" industrial sectors, each employing roughly half of the labor force, were analyzed, and a framework identified perhaps more like Japanese organizational relations than African and Latin American informal sector patterns (cf 1, 21, 115, 166, 174); the critical divide was between permanent and temporary or contract workers, not sectors. Other studies of work concerned New Delhi medical center doctors (177) and Benares male and female sweepers, whose similar incomes result in considerable gender equality, and who present a case of "fusion" among commonl y situated jatis (271).

Class was considered in several works (see also 104). "Groom-price" dowry abuse, leading in many cases to domestic violence directed at wives- 690 women in Delhi alone died after being set on fire in the first ten months of 1983-was linked by Srinivas (291; cf 43) to upper-class behavior and its emulation in 20th century India; it had previously been a much less problematic aspect of hypergamous marriage in North India, and had been unknown in


the South. Upward class mobility was also tied to increasing subcaste exogamy in several studies (44, 160, 193). Molund's thoughtful ethnography (193) of a low-caste working-class neighborhood in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, showed how class differences relentlessly intrude ever more broadly into daiLy life. It dealt with permanent and temporary workers, caste "fusion" efforts led by political activists, the extension of marriage ties among the better-educated and better-off, and a complex array of progressive and conservative ideologies of caste (cf 57, 140).

Women figured centrally in three studies: in Fruzettis symbolic analysis (88) of Bengali marriage, complementing Oster's study of public ritual in the same town; in Mies's regional account of home-based Lace production for export in Andhra Pradesh (187); and in Sharma's careful ethnography (275) of household social reproduction in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

No book length urban ethnographies of other south Asian countries appeared during the 1980s (see 177), but one should note Tarnbiahs account (299) of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka and its treatment of urban Sinhala-Tarnil relations.

East Asia

Under trying research conditions that made participant observation difficult, Wolf (327) studied the situation of women in six locales in urban and ruraL China and concluded that gender equality has been "postponed" in the post- 1949 years. She found that most women in their 20s to 50s work, if more in neighborhood enterprises than industrial or management positions, and willingly surrender their jobs to their daughters; that the state-favored, one-child policy is practiced in cities, with day nursery and grandparentaL support for working mothers during the week, but leads to worry about a generation of "spoiled" children; that marriage, relatively Late, springs from introductions made by concerned kin and workmates, with little self-initiated dating; and that mother-daughter ties have strengthened, and patrilineal kinship, sonpreference, and ancestor worship receded. Small towns in rural China, buffeted by changes in nationaL policy campaigns, were the subject of research by Fei (75), continuing work begun in the 1930s, and Siu (284), who studied the tum-arounds of recent economic liberalization in Kwangtung.

Strong research traditions (cf 3, 314) were maintained in the 1980s in Hong Kong and Taiwan, two of the "four dragons" rapidly catching up economically with Japan, (The other two are Singapore, discussed in the next section, and South Korea, about which no urban study was published, a situation likely to change in the 199Os.) In Chinese (but not yet China-ruled) Hong Kong, Salaff (247) probed the spheres of action opened to self-direction, and those restrained by patrilineal family organization, for young women in service jobs and export-oriented factory employment (cf 29,76, 147, 204-


205, 213). Using Marxist theory, Cooper (58) analyzed changes in the organization of male labor-capital relations in exported furniture workshops before and subsequent to mechanization. The disruptions of daily and familial experience for elderly Chinese arrivals in Hong Kong (and Boston) were the subject of Ikels' book (133). Political vagaries of ethnicity in a diverse Cantonese-Hakka-Hokkien New Territories market town were chronicled by Blake (133).

An overview of history, class, and ethnicity in Taiwan by Gates (90, cf 3) prefaced sensitive, contextualized portraits of the ethnographically defined Taipei "working class" (cf 253). The "part-time proletariat" of young female factory workers living at home and in dormitories was studied in depth by Kung (3, 147), as were the urban poor, again in dialog with Oscar Lewis, by Schak (262). Kleinman's influential book on theory in medical anthropology (143) was also an ethnographic account of urban Taiwan "somatization" and health-seeking behavior and belief, covering Chinese traditional and folk practice and local western medicine; its rich account of tang-ki spiritpossessed healing is of wide comparative relevance (cf 23, 35, 36, 44, 63, 108, 124, 175, 195, 320, 332).

Nothing in terms of quality, coherence, and size compares with the remarkable urban literature on Japan. Revealing greater complexities and nuances than the Japan Inc. media image, the twenty studies cited here nonetheless cannot easily be read as not describing aspects of a cultural whole. If there is struggle and debate among Japanologists (many of whom review each other's books), it is mannerly and organized, like the society they study.

Turning first to Japan's political economy, or economic polity, Smith's erudite Morgan Lectures on Japanese history, society, and culture (286) dealt with distinctive organizational and interpersonal features of this most economically developed of industrial nations. A thickly ethnographic political study by Apter & Sawa (10) of protracted opposition to Tokyo's Narita airport (events also discussed by Smith) examined the edges of state-citizenry consultation, and detailed the organization of leftist sects, farmer resistance, and bureaucratic response, as well as the wider terrain of peace, land-use, and environmental politics in contemporary Japan. The strategies and interorganizational environment of Japanese corporations, in comparison with Western ones, were assessed by Abegglen (author of an influential 1958 study of the Japanese factory that fell within the urban anthropology canon; cf 227) & Stalk (1); it provided as well a provocative picture of the systemic shedding of less capital-intensive production by Japan to the "four dragons," and by them to Southeast Asia. Hamada's study (115) of a Japanese and US corporate joint venture examined Japanese business culture-including ties between parent company and subsidiaries in keiretsu business groups, and ringi joint decision-making-and the realities of distribution and product acceptability that foreign firms encounter, even with trade liberalization.


The properties of Japanese organization and culture as experienced through individual life cycles were treated in several books. Plath (226) edited a set of essays that dealt with careers inside and outside organization bureaucracies and sought to identify checkpoints and trajectories for men and women in a variety of occupations. Rohlen's comparison of five Kobe high schools (237) stressed the abrupt ending for youth of primary school equality upon entering the elaborately gradated high schools (with relative equality, however, within each high school) and the national dissatisfaction and inertia over university entrance exam dominance of secondary school instruction; his conclusions, as in most of this literature, tied his findings to generaLizations about Japanese culture. Hendry (127) studied preschool children in the context of cultural views of how to rear them. Coleman (54, 226) analyzed the social reasons for Japan's relatively underdeveloped birth control technology and the unwelcomed but heavy reliance on abortion for family planning in relation to career stage; he also discussed domestic gender roles and cultural values in sexuality. Plath's own ethnography of Japanese middle age (225) was creative conceptually and in its use of novels; it illustrated that the life course is always interactive as well as individual,

The neighborhood dimension of Japanese urban life was probed in Ames's study of poLice work in Kurashiki (6), including relations with protestors, Koreans and burakumin (former outcastes), and, almost cordial, with yakuza gang members. Wagatsuma & De Vos (310) reported on their extens ive stud y of a poor Tokyo district. Bestor's portrait of a small residential neighborhood in southern Tokyo (24) included its historical and politicaL development, the role of local merchants and artisans in civic activity and leadership, and the staging of its annual Shinto festival, A major interest in Japanese working women and housewives was also evident in the 1980s. Lebra (157) examined both changing life cycle and varied occupational roles, using data from extensive life histories and interviews. More intensively, Imamura (134) focused on suburban Tokyo housewives, and Dalby (61) on the history, training, and work culture of geisha professional entertainers.

People do fall through the cracks and experience stress and illness in Japan, and such aspects did not escape the ethnographers' net. Davis's stimulating book (63) explored a Local congregation of one of Japan's "new religions," its mixed Japanese and Western ideology, concerns over modem pollutants, healing practices invoLving exorcism of spirits, and internal organization, which survived the death of its prophetic founder; its members were mainly working and lower-middle class, unlucky in health and personal affairs. Lock's medical anthropology of Japan (168, 169) extended from an ethnography of Chinese-derived Japanese medical practice to the cultural construction of menopause. Ohnuki-Tierney's vivid cultural study of illness (211) began with Levi-Straussian analysis of concepts of domestic health maintenance and personal balance and stress; it continued with a portrait of the "medical


pluralism" of traditional and Western medicine, hospitalization, and the role of shrines, including the ubiquitous jizo where offerings for the souls of aborted fetuses are placed. Tourism to shrines, and cultural aspects of domestic travel in Japan, were the subject of a fascinating study by Graburn (l05).

Southeast Asia and Oceania

Geertz's historical account (91) of the polarity of negara (town, palace, capital, state) and desa (countryside, village, governed area) in Hinduinfluenced Bali identified the flows of ritual, taxes, trade, troops, and water that undergirded these city-states. Whether one reads the causal arrows as Geertz does, or appreciates his evidence as demonstrating something else, his book was a vivid demonstration of the Leeds viewpoint that "no town is an island of itself' and provided a vision of the infrastructure of indigenous urbanism in Southeast Asia.

The contemporary urban ethnography published in the 1980s in tum evidenced the importance of Islamic revival and world system incorporative influence in the ASEAN portion of the region. (As was the case for Eastern Europe, urban studies of Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, and Burma, were lacking.) Nagata (200, 201) examined Islamic ferment in Malaysia and identified the urban, Middle East-influenced, recent dakwah. strain that has come to challenge rural-based ulama religious leadership. For Indonesia, Nakamura (202) covered the social history from 1900 of a local branch of the Muslim Muhammadiyah movement and engaged the earlier work of Geertz in Java.

Ong's important study (204, 213) of young female workers in Japanese factories in a Malaysia export zone probed changing political economy, work discipline, and gender and marriage arrangements. (Also for Malaysia, see 177.) Robinson's book (236) on a foreign-owned nickel mine and town on Sulawesi examined economic structures and changes as well as race relations between expatriates and Indonesians. Other studies of urban Indonesians concerned office workers on Sulawesi (56) and squatters in Yogyakarta, Java (110). Seigel's post-modern ethnography (272) dealt with language, neighborhood relations, and popular culture in S urakarta, Java.

Among the most obnoxious aspects of the "world system" are the internationaL prostitution and commerical "sex tourism" it has created. Matching the as-yet ethnographically unstudied flows of women from Colombia and the Dominican Republic to prostitution in Western Europe, and from the Philippines to Japan, is the reverse travel for pleasure of men from these core regions to Thailand, in the Southeast Asian periphery. A modest but careful study (224) described the organization of Bangkok's sex district, where some 200,000 women work at anyone time, and its "masseuses" migration, visiting, and return to their rural home villages, to which they bring a kind of economic "development." (See also Cohen, in 99.)


Urban research concerned more with internal change than world influences included Trager's study (303) of female migrants, their work in service jobs, and their continuing rural hometown connections in Dagupan City, the Philippines. For now-prosperous Singapore, Salaff (248) documented governmentsponsored housing, economic development, and social service policies and their effects over time on the lives of individual poor and secure Chinese families.

While Singapore is largely Chinese, overseas Chinese elsewhere in Southeast Asia are minorities, varying in degree from cultural and linguistic distinctiveness to near disappearance into their host populations. In Malaysia, Hallgren (114) studied the community politics and ethnic relations of the Penang Chinese, and Clammer (49) sketched the historical sociology of the creolized Malacca "S traits Chinese." In the Philippines, Omohundro (212) focused on kinship in business in the Iloilo Chinese merchant enclave community. To these and other studies of overseas Chinese (Geertz on 19th-century Bali; 48, 285, 328), Wu (330) made a splendid addition in his book on the Papua New Guinea community. At once social and political history, a study of race relations, and a regional analysis of kinship ties, Wu's work traced the world capitalist system through Hong Kong into the islands of the Pacific and brought the urban anthropology of the 1980s along for the journey.

State of the World, State of the Art

There is more than one way to evaluate a literature. Here we have looked substantively at what the collected English-language 1980s urban anthropology tells us about the urban half of the world. Gaps are most evident for city life in Western Europe, Brazil, and the socialist world: the USSR, Eastern Europe, China, Indochina. Elsewhere an urban anthropology broader than that of the 1950s-1970s is making headway with issues of grassroots politics, evolving ethnic ideologies, religious ferment, women's situations, the changing organization of work, youth and popular cultures, and the effects of world economic dynamics on migration and urban efflorescence and disinvestment.

One might also evaluate a literature in terms of style, vision, and rhetorical effectiveness, the mix of thick and slick (or sleek) description (259). Beyond a chronicle of change and technical advance, in jazz one also keeps lasting impressions-the cool strut of Miles Da vis's version of "W alkin'"; the etched beauty of John Coltrane playing "Ruby My Dear" or "On a Misty Night" with composers Thelonious Monk and Tadd Dameron on piano; the double life of Butch Morris's "Flowers for Albert" played as a dirge by David Murray's quartet and as a calypso by his octet. Lasting ethnographic images and visions in the urban anthropology of the 1980s were created skillfully by several authors. Among the most memorable were images of homeless persons in the steam tunnels of New York City (18), black household workers and white


employers in South Africa (50), the best and the worst high schools in Kobe, Japan (237), and "unorganized sector" industrial workshops in India (129; see also 24,29,44,46,63,76,78,97, 112, 145,163, 174, 193,209,211,225, 235, 238, 245, 280, 294, 304, 316, 318, 320, 324, 325, 330).

Evaluation can also assess the degree of social engagement, the public stance of anthropology as a discipline. In 1990 the discipline as a whole is polarized to a large extent between a present-day anthropology that looks to the past, and an anthropology of the present, represented in this review, that looks to the future. Issues of purpose and substance, application and audience, enrollments and recruitment, training and represenrivity, and theory and practice are at stake (256, 257, 259; cf 263). Increasingly, the battle will be waged on urban terrain. Perhaps during the 1980s preparations were made for a new anthropology that will someday dislodge and absorb the old anthropologies after all.

Finally, urban anthropology can be evaluated in terms of its theoretical contributions to the wider field, and it is to this that we return briefly in conclusion.


Debate within and among the other-than-urban anthropologies during the 1960s and 1970s produced a variety of "movements," ably reviewed by Ortner (215). With the goal of a less fractionalized, reconstituted anthropology, Ortner proposed "practice" as an operating orientation, one that might encompass a more "systematic sociology" and "critical flavor" than the work produced by the various "movements." Although she discussed theoretical writings, analyses based on historical sources, and some symbolic and psychological anthropology ,Ortner did not elaborate what she meant by "more sociologically oriented practice accounts" with any examples of the "doer, agent, actor," "action, interaction, activity," and "moves and projects" side of the practice agenda.

Ortner, I am certain, meant "practice" to be more than a new metaphor, or a buzzword to jazz up interviews or "dialogic" anthropology. My own ethnographic preference is for listening to speech-in-action and observing on-going behavior on the informants' turf, with off-stage interviews and dialogic transcriptions a secondary and supplementary part of fieldwork practice (259, 260; cf 324). When we ask how to think about this in cities, and what the theoretical payoff might be, we have two essential books from the beginning and end of the 1980s to tum to: Hannerz' s 1980 Exploring the City (118) and Finnegan's 1989 The Hidden Musicians (78).

Through his considerations of urban anthropology and sociology, Hannerz


developed what is very much a "practice" theory of human action. He saw persons as moving through situations, each of which has its analytic aspects of behavior, consciousness, and resources. Behavior and consciousness interpenetrate and affect each other in situations; resources may be augmented or diminished, and structure the situations they support. The roles created in situations were assigned to the "domains" of provisioning, household & kinship, leisure, neighboring, and traffic.

Hannerz discussed urban research focused on each of these domains. He considered how the content and relative volume of situations occurring in a domain varied from city to city and with different "types" of urbanism. His consideration of traffic, in a chapter subtitled "Tales of Goffrnan," made meaningful for me the work of a sociologist I found interesting but had no idea how to integrate with anything else. Hannerz saw neighboring relations as varying in behavioral significance from one ethnographic setting and individual to another. He cited studies of squatter settlements as dealing with the neighboring domain, but he did not then give fuller attention to what we can now see as the poLitical side of urban life arising in this domain (see to, 14,24,31,70, 135,295,296,307,325).

From the viewpoint of 1990, theoretical thinking during the 1980s might lead us to consider how "production" and "social reproduction" (32, 151, 152, 166, 253) might conceptually replace "provisioning" and "household & kinship" as domains. But that would not make easier the ethnographic fieldwork involved, and that is what Hannerz's thinking also helps us to address. Hannerz's discussion of "network" helped clear the weeds of terminology for what is indeed a method (not a set of relationships) and a concept that has more often than not been misapplied or used merely metaphorically. But Exploring the City is a theoretical, not a methodological, book, and Hannerz did not take network analysis further as a means to trace actors to and through the domains of urban life. This pathway to "practice" is one Epstein opened in a classic 1961 paper (71), and Barth (15), I (251), and Hannerz himself (117) experimented with during the 1970s. It is a contribution from the old "urban anthropology" that might be reused more creatively and thoroughLy in the 1990s.

There is much more of importance in Hannerzs book that bears reading by nonspecialists and indeed remains to be absorbed by those working in cities. One last point from Hannerz leads to the work of Finnegan. He mentioned that we need an ethnographic theory of the "leisure" domain; the research he discussed encompassed gangs, gay scenes, social clubs, voluntary associations (where we can locate politics again'), and entertainment. Hannerz's work during the 1980s (119, 120) on the gLobal social organization of culture has developed and expanded the ideas about "leisure" in this book. But it is Finnegan's The Hidden Musicians that, by examining systematically the


leisure domain of amateur music-making in a British city, builds upon the theory of human action formulated by Hannerz.

The town Finnegan studied was no urban village; it had the dense and heterogeneous qualities Wirth attributed to cities. Participants in musical groups traveled from all over the city to locations for practice and performance; most groups were not neighborhood based, and only in brass bands did kinship ties connect some members. Interaction among participants in each musical group or world was limited mainly to music-making. Most people did not have multiplex relations with each other, and only some knew much about or interacted with other members outside their common musical acti v ity. People arrived to pla y or sing and clearl y derived satisfaction from it Nor did groups last forever; individuals moved out, or on, or up to more profess ional levels. All this, I believe, is also true of much urban life in associations, churches, political organizations, and the rest of the leisure domain.

These hidden musicians were linked "by social practices," as Finnegan puts it. Each person followed her or his "pathway" in the amateur music worlds, moving through situations in which knowledge of others varied in fullness. Persons might appreciate and value others because they "showed up"; they interacted with no more intimacy than was required for the purposes that brought them together. Musical activities, Finnegan concluded, were part of larger "pathways in urban living," involving intimate groups and deep commitment in some situations and tangential relations in others. For most urbanites, their pathways were both predictable and meaningful, and these qualities, I suggest, are what anthropologists refer to when they speak about social organization and culture.

Urban pathways lead persons to situations where economic, political, legal, medical, educational, religious, and aesthetic activity may be studied. They connect the domains of production, social reproduction, neighboring, traffic, and leisure. Their meaning to their users is open to cognitive, psychological, and symbolic analysis. They may be studied through participant observation at selected stopping points (as by Finnegan), through network analysis, and through interviews and dialogic recreation and reflection. From the urban anthropolo gy of the 1980s, the theoretical formulations of Finnegan and Hannerz offer all anthropologists conceptual pathways to practice.


For comments on this essay I thank Ted Bestor, Ulf Hannerz, Madhulika S. Khandelwal, Louise Lamphere, David Plath, Karen Sacks, Lani Sanjek, and Brett Williams.

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