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At the Edge of Assistance: The Social Life of Transnational Care in El Salvador

At the Edge of Assistance: The Social Life of Transnational Care in El Salvador
19 Russell Street, Room AP246
Time: Nov 4th, 2:00 pm End: Nov 4th, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: Slavic Studies (FAS), Ethnography, Diaspora/Transnational, Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Talk by Tomas Matza (University of Pittsburgh)

The Department of Anthropology presents

At the Edge of Assistance: The Social Life of Transnational Care in El Salvador

This talk describes in-progress research, which is rather messily set in the midst of an intervention and its evaluation in El Salvador. A US-based NGO is hoping to positively affect child wellbeing by intervening in the ways that daycare center caregivers build attachments with children. This pedagogy of care, which targets communities that are underserved and frequently beset by gang violence, draws on psychological theories of Ainsworth, Bowlby and others. Meanwhile, a group of US-based researchers is evaluating the NGO's intervention in order to create an evidence base for project effectiveness and possible replication elsewhere. Together these two parties comprise what I term an "assistance apparatus"-that is, a complex assemblage of social scientific knowledge, metrics, pragmatics and personnel. In this talk I reflect on the complex social life underlying forms of care such as these, which, spreading under the impetus of global mental health, aspire to a kind of transnational modularity. I am particularly interested in the everyday work it takes to achieve the status of the "evidence-based." Writing from within the intervention, I also elaborate a critically complicit ethnographic approach adequate to this global knowledge production, which I liken to Latour and Woolgar's "Laboratory Life."

Tomas Matza (University of Pittsburgh) received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2010. His research interests extend across the subfields of sociocultural, medical and environmental anthropology, and touch on issues of mental health, political economy and climate change. His research to date has focused on Russia.


Anthropology Colloquium Series co-sponsored by the Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies (CDTS)

The event is free and open to all. Registration required. For further information, please contact the Department of Anthropology at (416) 978-4805.

matza


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