Laura Stark

Laura Stark
University of Jyväskylä | JYU · Department of History and Ethnology

PhD in Folklore Studies

About

76
Publications
17,145
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302
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Introduction
My research focuses on gender, urban poverty, early marriage, transactional intimacy, and mobile telephony in the global South. Recent scientific articles have been published in Ethnologia Europaea; Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology; Culture, Health and Sexuality; and Marriage and Family Review. I am the author of The Limits of Patriarchy: How Female Networks of Pilfering and Gossip Sparked the First Debates on Rural Gender Rights in the 19th-Century Finnish-Language Press (2011).
Additional affiliations
August 2005 - November 2015
University of Jyväskylä
Position
  • Professor of Ethnology

Publications

Publications (76)
Article
Full-text available
Mobile money provides a tool for survival, particularly in urban conditions shaped by city regulations that make microvending difficult for the poor. An analysis of 165 interviews conducted in two low-income neighborhoods in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania over 8 years demonstrates how interlocked layers of technology and interaction make mobile money serv...
Article
Full-text available
Mobile money provides a tool for survival, particularly in urban conditions shaped by city regulations that make microvending difficult for the poor. An analysis of 165 interviews conducted in two low-income neighborhoods in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania over 8 years demonstrates how interlocked layers of technology and interaction make mobile money serv...
Chapter
Full-text available
A decade ago, gender and mobile communication for development (M4D) were barely mentioned in the same context. Even when acknowledged, "gender" tended to be just one in a long list of factors that impact the uses and effects of mobile telephony, including age, class, education, household structure, employment, and ethnicity. Only within the last de...
Book
Full-text available
Mobile phones are widely viewed as the information and communication technology that holds the most promise for bridging global digital divides. Gendered Power and Mobile Technology uses empirical research to focus on changing intersections between technology, gender and other categories of social and cultural power difference (such as age, race,...
Article
Full-text available
The causes of early marriage often remain unclear. A new study tests whether parental interests and coercion explain high rates of marriage for girls aged 15–18 in rural Tanzania. It finds that most brides choose their own partners and do not suffer harm to their physical or mental wellbeing later in life, and suggests alternative explanations. L...
Article
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Using the method of third-person elicitation and 171 interviews in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I examine one form of forced marriage, ‘marriage on the mat’ (ndoa ya mkeka). In it, girls’ parents use the normative pressure of Islamic norms to circumvent the groom’s lack of consent to the marriage and promote their daughter’s future economic security. P...
Chapter
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Nowhere in Africa is urban development occurring as rapidly as in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, at the present moment. During the last decade and a half, massive construction projects in housing, commercial buildings and infrastructure have transformed the landscape of the city, creating a social experiment that has never been replicated on...
Chapter
Full-text available
It is recommend that closer attention be paid in urban policy to not only the physical/spatial urban processes but also to the human experiences of living in the city, since cities are ultimately comprised of persons who dwell within, negotiate, and navigate city spaces. Poverty in particular is an aspect of human experience that can be heavily imp...
Article
Full-text available
Note: the original article was published in the Finnish language without an abstract. The abstract below in English was written by co-author Laura Stark. Recommended citation: Laura Stark, Marja Kokko, Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto, Heli Niskanen, Pasi Saarimäki, Saara Tuomaala & Arja Turunen. 2010. Kätkeytynyt valta: Sukupuolihistoriat ja valtatutkim...
Article
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The assumed inability of adolescents to voluntarily consent to marriage is a key definition of child marriage. Using ethnography, this study approaches consent, self-determination, and fulfillment as dependent on the ability to make choices, not only between actual alternatives but also between perceived alternatives. In contexts of severe poverty,...
Chapter
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Artikkelissa tarkastellaan etnologian keinoin miksi Tansanian nuoriso harjoittaa korkean hiv-tartuntariskin omaavia seksuaalisia käytänteitä. Tutkimus perustuu Tansanian suurimmassa kaupungissa Dar es Salaamissa tehtyihin 128 teemahaastatteluun. Analyysin lähtökohtana on ajatus siitä, että kulttuuristen odotusten ja asenteiden huolellinen analyysi...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines under-18 marriage in urban Tanzania from an ethnographic perspective. Due to poverty and high unemployment, some girls aspire to early marriage. Two pathways to early marriage are identified: first, poverty and gendered economic disparities motivate girls to begin transactional sexual activity at an early age, leading parents to...
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Article
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Drawing on more than 1,700 folk narratives and descriptions of folk belief, this article posits a particular ethnotheory of emotion centred on anger and fear in the 19th- and early 20th-century Finnish countryside. According to this ethnotheory, it was believed that anger could kill or injure others at a distance, and that the envy and desires of o...
Article
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Transactional sex has been recognized as a major factor in the persistence of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet it also has implications for the persistence of povery. Using interview data collected between 2010 and 2015, this article takes a cross-generational perspective to examine how premarital transactional sex, in which women provide sex to...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines how urban youth in the poorest neighbourhoods of Dar es Salaam negotiate the terms of transactional intimacy, that is, heterosexual relations in which men are expected to provide for women materially. Using the concept of ‘affect’, I argue that this negotiation involves different levels of male providership, as well as moral v...
Article
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Given that narrative research has shown narration to be an innate trait of the human species, the concept of narrative culture encompasses a vast domain. Here I define it as a system of conventions1 for representing temporally ordered events, conventions that are shared by a group. Such groups tend to be coterminous with linguistic communities. Thi...
Conference Paper
Drawing on numerous interviews carried out in 2010, this paper focuses on the popular cult surrounding a medical doctor famous for helping the poor, Dr. Sousa Martins, who died over a century ago in Lisbon. Because of contested rumors of Sousa Martins’ having been Freemason and having committed suicide, he is unlikely to ever be canonized within th...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the mid-nineteenth century, a significant number of persons among the Finnish-speaking rural populace learned to read fluently and write for the first time. One of the first purposes to which Finnish-speakers could put their writing was letters to the press. This paper first provides a brief overview of how rural Finnish-speaking commoners acqui...
Article
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On the basis of semi-structured interviews conducted in 2010 and 2012, this article examines some of the social and economic impacts of transactional sex within a low-income area of Dar es Salaam, and how opportunities for transactional sex, in turn, have been expanded by mobile telephony. On the basis of my interviews, I posit that in areas of chr...
Book
This book can be downloaded for free from the Finnish Literature Society’s open access website: http://oa.finlit.fi/site/books/10.21435/sfe.13/
Chapter
Full-text available
Some years ago, in researching images of the human body in traditional Finnish magic, I came across the following text recorded in northern Finland from a male sorcerer born in 1835. This text gave me my first glimpse into the dark side of life in traditional2 rural Finland, one rarely portrayed in folkloristic and ethnological research:
Book
This book can be downloaded for free from the Finnish Literature Society’s open access website: https://oa.finlit.fi/site/books/10.21435/sff.11/
Article
Full-text available
Female sexuality has long been seen as a fascinating, mysterious and unruly challenge to patriarchal order in the West. Scholars, faced with the scarcity of visual representations of female genitalia in European cultural history, have turned to oral tradition for answers. Finland's peripheral location meant that folklore reflecting centuries-old vi...
Book
Full-text available
This book, published by the Finnish Literature Society in 1998, draws on nearly 1800 archival texts housed in the Finnish Literature Society's Folklore Archives. It examines from an anthropological perspective magic rituals practiced by and for Finnish women in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as pollution beliefs and sexual imagery, and...
Book
Full-text available
This book, published by the Finnish Literature Society in 1998, draws on nearly 1800 archival texts housed in the Finnish Literature Society's Folklore Archives. It examines from an anthropological perspective magic rituals practiced by and for Finnish women in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as pollution beliefs and sexual imagery, and...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the wake of the collapse of Communism, religious and ethnic revivalism have emerged as major elements of social change in the former Soviet Union, playing themselves out on national, regional and community levels. This chapter focuses on community, and examines the dialectic between (i) religious values and (ii) the construction of a ‘moral comm...
Article
Examines assumptions found in literature concerning literacy and orality (ORL). These assumptions are that writing is primarily a medium to convey information; is more permanent than oral communication (OC); and is more analytical, careful, and deliberate than OC. Kalevala meter poetry, sung in Finnish communities, reverses the assumptions about sp...
Article
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This article surveys ethnographically-oriented English-language research on popular or folk religion in Southern Europe 1970-1993. It also offers perspectives on how folk religion had been studied during that time.
Book
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The La Mojarra Stela was discovered in 1986, and represented at that time the oldest dated example of written script in Mesoamerica. It was discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, and contained over 500 signs which had not been deciphered. This catalogue represents the first step taken toward decipherment: a list of graphemes, or minimal meaningful graphic...
Article
Full-text available
This article is an overview of folk rituals related to love and marriage in 19th- and early 20th-century Finnish society.

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