2006 Grantees

Johanna Bockman– “Academic Exchanges & Neoliberalism”

Roger Lancaster– “How Mexicans See the United States”

Agnieszka Paczynska– “Confronting Change: Labor, State & the Transition to a Market Economy”

Linda Seligmann– “Transnational Adoption & Changing Faces of American Families”

Carlos Sluzki– “Design & Redesign of Refugee/IDP Camps for Short & Long-term Stay”

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Project Descriptions

Johanna Bockman

Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology
College of Arts & Sciences

“Academic Exchanges & Neoliberalism”

Recently, academia has witnessed the expansion of large-scale scholarly exchange programs supported by the U.S. government as a form of soft power. the effectiveness of these exchanges for both governmental ends and academic ends has been assumed, rather than systematically explored. Dr. Bockman is researching how scholarly exchanges affected economic knowledge and economic professions in Eastern Europe, Italy, and the United States and the rise of neoliberalism during and after the Cold War. Knowledge of past experiences with scholarly exchanges in times of great political tension will provide George Mason University with a better understanding of its current exchange activities and the impact of its new campus in the United Arab Emirates. This project provides new tools to understand the flows of people and information, the origins and diffusion of neoliberalism worldwide, and the relationship between science and globalization.

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Roger Lancaster

Professor of Cultural Studies
College of Arts & Sciences

“How Mexicans See the United States”

This project will combine intensive doctoral level training of research methods with directed and collaborative research to produce an interview- based ethnographic text. The resulting book will document and analyze how Mexicans from all walks of life see, understand, and imagine the United States, with emphasis on five broad areas of work: work, culture, race/ethnic relations, globalization, and America’s place in the world. This project, which explores popular perception of neoliberal globalization, has the potential to yield insights for both American Studies (how the U.S. is variously imagined by its nearest neighbor) and Mexican Studies (how ideas about the U.S. reflect upon conceptions of Mexican nationhood).

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Agnieszka Paczynska

Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis
Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution

“Confronting Change: Labor, State & the Transition to a Market Economy”

This book project examines how organized labor has responded to and sought to influence privatization of the public sector. In order to explain the variation in labor organizations’ influence on the process of privatization design and implementation it examines the interaction between reforming governments and organized labor in Poland, Egypt, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. The book argues that we can more fully account for organized labor’s influence on economic restructuring policies by considering the historical legacies of state-labor interaction. Those interactions affect the resources available to labor, such as legal prerogatives, financial autonomy, and experience. These resources in turn affect the relative power between organized labor and the reforming government and thus influence the ability of organized labor to shape privatization policies.

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Linda Seligmann

Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Arts & Sciences

“Transnational Adoption and Changing Faces of American Families”

This ethnographic research examines the effects of the increase in transnational adoptions over the last fifteen years on the cultural assumptions Americans hold about families and their forms and content. The frequency and density of such adoptions take place unevenly across geographic regions of the U.S. Although these adoptions may appear to create conditions for embracing differences, globalization processes and the heart of our domestic economies and politics may cause fissures in surprising and noteworthy ways. This project entails in-depth interviews and participant observation with families with children adopted from China and Russia, respectively; transracial African-American adoptive families in the U.S., and non-adoptive families. Within a comparative framework, across six geographic regions, the larger project investigates how the constitution and activation of kinship model and ties in practice, the internet, the bureaucratic regulatory environment across national and international terrain, racial differences, ethnic heritage, and the loss of connections and gaps in memory intervene in transnational adoption practices and how they are viewed among adoptive and non-adoptive families in the U.S.

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Carlos Sluzki

Research Professor
College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution

“Design & Redesign of Refugee/IDP Camps for Short and Long-Term Stay”

UNHCR refugee camps worldwide are designed for short-term stays. However, due to unresolved social violence in their country of origin, many refugees and refugee-families remain in those camps for years. The short- term nature of the design and logistic of those camps contribute to a collective experience of anomy that compounds the despair of longer-term refugees, as those camps do not foster social networking or communal living nor enhance the refugees’ resilience, education, or capacitating for post- camp living. In 2006, the UNHCR was charged to care for the millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), adding a burden to an already stretched key organization. The same issues of camps design may apply to IDPs. This project will include a feasibility study aimed at re-shaping the current design and procedures of refugee camps to reduce stress and anomy by promoting social-networks.

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