Michael Schnegg

Michael Schnegg
University of Hamburg | UHH · Department of Anthropology

PhD

About

63
Publications
24,540
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907
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Introduction
My research explores how humans collectively enact their understandings of and engagements with the nonhuman world. To do so, I collaborate in inter- and transdisciplinary research projects, that analyze the relationship between humans and their environment from a range of perspectives.
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - October 2016
University of Hamburg
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (63)
Article
Full-text available
This article brings the two questions, how and what we know, into a productive dialog to explain the difference between indigenous and scientific environmental knowledge. In the case I explore, scientists and Damara pastoralists (ǂnūkhoen) both relate the arrival of the rains in arid Namibia to the interplay between two winds. However, when it come...
Article
Full-text available
International surveys suggest people increasingly agree the climate is changing and humans are the cause. One reading of this is that people have adopted the scientific point of view. Based on a sample of 28 ethnographic cases we argue that this conclusion might be premature. Communities merge scientific explanations with local knowledge in hybrid...
Article
Full-text available
In Namibia, both Damara pastoralists (ǂNūkhoen) and scientists agree that it rains less frequently than before. To explain their observations, however, scientists refer to carbon dioxide molecules, while the pastoralists point to social tensions, neoliberalism, and failures of the postcolonial state. To understand this discrepancy, I ask whether wh...
Article
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The Damara pastoralists ( ǂnūkhoen) in Namibia distinguish a diverse range of rains. Some rains kill livestock, others care for insects and still others wash away the footprints of the deceased, allowing the person to exist in the spirit realm. While anthropologists have documented cultural classifications like the Namibian rains for decades, we st...
Article
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Our ways of knowing the weather are transforming. Climate change modifies weather patterns, and the globalization of scientific knowledge promotes new ways of making the weather intelligible. Following both transformations, I explore how Damara pastoralists (ǂNūkhoen) in Namibia entertain various Indigenous, religious, political, and scientific exp...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores why people in Namibia go into debt to eat. Until recently, food sharing practices were maintained by social relationships in which everyone owed everyone else. This made sense, as needs would rotate evenly. However, in recent decades, and largely through state employment and social grants, the political economy has changed. No...
Article
This article introduces ethnographic upscaling, an innovative procedure to explore and test hypotheses drawn from in-depth ethnographic findings in spatially continuous cases. The approach combines the strength of localized ethnographic descriptions with questionnaire-based regional surveys to study the distribution of ethnographic findings across...
Book
A new and important contribution to the re-emergent field of comparative anthropology, this book argues that comparative ethnographic methods are essential for more contextually sophisticated accounts of a number of pressing human concerns today. The book includes expert accounts from an international team of scholars, showing how these methods can...
Chapter
Ethnologists collect their data “in the field”, i.e. in the living environment of the examined, and not like other scientists in the laboratory, at home or in the library. Field research is the central method of the subject and includes various methods of data collection. The volume conveys basic knowledge of empirical data collection and thus serv...
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1990s, access to water has profoundly changed in rural Namibia. The institutional transformation was informed by the then dominant discourse in the global policy debate on water, most importantly the idea of community‐based management (CBM). While the supporters of the development regime promised that it would bring sustainability, econom...
Article
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Natural resource management has changed profoundly in recent decades emphasizing new legislation that transfers responsibilities to local user groups. In this article, I follow changing water policies to Namibia and show that the enactment of policy in local institutions deviates from community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) blueprints a...
Article
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After independence, and in accordance with global environmental policies, the government of Namibia partly transferred the responsibility for managing wildlife and water to local communities. In this article, we use the concept of environmental justice as a theoretical guide to explore the combined effects that these new policies have had for pasto...
Chapter
In the final chapter, Betina Hollstein, Wenzel Matiaske, Kai-Uwe Schnapp, and Michael Schnegg relate the new research perspective on networked governance to network governance research as it has developed over the last decades. The authors present a classification of networks as institutions and discuss the relations between actors and networks. Th...
Poster
Full-text available
Considering projected climate and socio-economic development for Southern Africa, a major challenge in southern Africa is to find mechanisms to adapt to climate change and to secure water at sufficient quality and quantity for both, human well-being and the stability of ecosystem functions and services. Many countries of southern Africa face inadeq...
Chapter
Researching cultural diversity is a central subject of social anthropology. 25 authors from institutes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland offer an insight into the subject, its contents and theoretical perspectives. The articles cover a variety of topics: the history of the discipline as well as basic theories and methods, subareas such as busines...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, water management in Namibia has profoundly changed. Beginning in the 1990s the Namibian state has incrementally turned ownership of and the responsibility for its rural water supply to local user groups. While the state withdrew from managing resources directly, it continued to circumscribe the ways in which local communities sho...
Article
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In this article, I explore food sharing, one of the most salient social practices in rural Namibia. In so doing, I develop a model that situates food on the continuum between private and communal property regimes. I argue that the place it takes is largely shaped by the social costs involved in excluding someone from having a share. Those costs are...
Article
Full-text available
Water governance in rural Namibia has profoundly changed since the early 1990s. After independence and in accordance with global environmental policies, it became a central theme of Namibia's environmental legislation to transfer the responsibility for managing natural resources to local user associations. In this article, I explore the emergence o...
Article
Full-text available
In the course of decentralization, pastoral communities in Namibia have had to find new ways to share their most salient resource, water, and the costs involved in providing it. Using data from sixty communities, we examine (1) whether and to what extent different sharing rules emerge, (2) how variations can be explained, (3) how rules are perceive...
Article
Full-text available
In Namibia, rural water governance has changed profoundly during the last two decades. Today, in many rural communities, user associations administer water and set the rules for management practices. Their rules typically define boundaries and specify contributions that vary for members and outsiders. When the rains failed in 2012-14, the mobility...
Article
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Two competing models concerning food transfers prominent in the anthropological literature conceptualize such transfers either as sharing or as exchange. Sharing is understood as situational transactions formed through demands and unconditional giving, whereas reciprocal exchange is understood in terms of networking and keeping score. I propose tha...
Article
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It is increasingly recognized that ecosystems provide varied services that should be considered in land management decisions. One of the challenges in the valuation of landscapes is that they often provide multiple services that combine into one social–ecological system. In this article we show how overlaps of those services can be measured, visual...
Article
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Sanctions are often considered an important component of successful resource management. To govern water usage, pastoral communities in Namibia have specific sanctions at their disposal and yet these are almost never applied. Interestingly, this does not lead to a breakdown in water supply. To understand collective action in small communities it is...
Article
Full-text available
Defining culture as shared knowledge, values, and practices, we introduce an anthropological concept of culture to the ecosystem-service debate. In doing so, we shift the focus from an analysis of culture as a residual category including recreational and aesthetic experiences to an analysis of processes that underlie the valuation of nature in gene...
Article
Full-text available
Comparison was once the corner stone of anthropology; ethnography later became a way to collect the necessary data and then became a rivaling paradigm. While the ways of doing ethnography have improved significandy over the last decades, comparison has been partly neglected and partly banned in the aftermath of postmodern criticism. At the same tim...
Book
Pastoralism has shaped livelihoods and landscapes on the African continent for millennia. Mobile livestock husbandry has generally been portrayed as an economic strategy that successfully met the challenges of low biomass productivity and environmental variability in arid and semi-arid environments. This volume focuses on the emergence, diversity,...
Chapter
Globalisierung heißt Vernetzung! Wir leben in einer »Netzwerkgesellschaft«, in der Akteure durch Beziehungen in soziale und wirtschaftliche Zusammenhänge eingebettet sind. Ein Ansatz der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften, der sich bei der Erforschung dieser Phänomene als weiterführend erwiesen hat, ist die soziale Netzwerkanalyse. Sie erklärt die M...
Chapter
Full-text available
Dieser Beitrag geht der Frage nach, wie die soziale Netzwerkanalyse entstanden ist. Um diese Frage beantworten zu können, muss man definieren, was man unter sozialer Netzwerkanalyse versteht. Freeman hat dazu vier Kriterien vorgeschlagen: (1) die Analyse der sozialen Beziehungen zwischen Akteuren als wichtiger Bestandteil gesellschaftlicher Ordnung...
Chapter
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Die Ethnologie hat einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Entstehung und Entwicklung der sozialen Netzwerkanalyse geleistet (Freeman 2004; Johnson 1994; Mitchell 1974). Das Ziel dieses Aufsatzes ist es aufzuzeigen, (1) worin dieser Beitrag besteht, (2) welche Fragestellungen Ethnologen heute mit Hilfe der Netzwerkanalyse untersuchen und (3) wodurch sich ihr s...
Book
Was macht Verwandtschaft heute aus? Und welche Fragen und Forschungsfelder werden derzeit diskutiert? In elf Beiträgen präsentiert dieses Buch einführend Ergebnisse aktueller ethnographischer Forschungen.
Chapter
What is kinship today? And which questions and research fields are currently being discussed? In eleven articles, this book presents the results of current ethnographic research and is devoted to the following topics: foster relationships and exchange relationships; symbolic interaction; inter-ethnic relationships and transcultural kinship; recipro...
Chapter
What is kinship today? And which questions and research fields are currently being discussed? In eleven articles, this book presents the results of current ethnographic research and is devoted to the following topics: foster relationships and exchange relationships; symbolic interaction; inter-ethnic relationships and transcultural kinship; recipro...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter we look at discourses – interwoven systems of linguistic and visual symbols and meanings – embedded in the social and political (and economic) field of what has come to be known as the ‘Kashmir conflict’, facilitated and influenced by the globalized technological institution of the Internet, and produced by a variety of local and tr...
Article
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Wolf's dichotomy between open and closed corporate communities has become axiomatic for the study of social organization in rural communities in Mesoamerica. In this paper I argue that this dichotomy is of limited use for understanding the vital dynamics behind the evolution of social groups typically classified by anthropologists as peasants. To o...
Chapter
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Research from different parts of Africa indicates that to grasp the HIV/AIDS catastrophe, an in-depth understanding of conjugal relationships is crucial. In casual, short-term sexual interactions, safer sex practices, foremost condom use, have become more and more prevalent. This does not hold true for long-term relationships. Marriage rates have s...
Chapter
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Vulnerability and resilience have emerged as key concepts to link natural and social science approaches to human development. This article deals with local responses to vulnerability in a rural community where long-term ethnographic fi eldwork was carried out. The Richtersveld is characterised by a semi-arid environment. The local economy is mainly...
Article
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Research in network science has shown that many naturally occurring and technologically constructed networks are scale free, that means a power law degree distribution emerges from a growth model in which each new node attaches to the existing network with a probability proportional to its number of links (=degree). Little is known about whether th...
Article
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Compadrazgo and kinship are two building blocks of the social organisation in rural Latin America. This article describes the compadrazgo system of a rural community in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Whilst compadres were never kin until the middle of the 20th century, today many compadres are chosen among relatives. This institutional change is most clearly ma...
Article
Compadrazgo and kinship are two building blocks of the social organisation in rural Latin America. This article describes the compadrazgo system of a rural community in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Whilst compadres were never kin until the middle of the 20(th) century, today many compadres are chosen among relatives. This institutional change is most clearly...
Article
The journal logo illustrates the use of dynamic visualization to complement network and statistical analysis in the study of social, political, economic and historical processes generally. In giving credit to the authors of the logo, this is an invited paper that summarizes earlier work on how existing social networks are transformed into political...
Article
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The presence of a kinship link between nuclear families is the strongest predictor of interhousehold sharing in an indigenous, predominantly Dolgan food-sharing network in northern Russia. Attributes such as the summed number of hunters in paired households also account for much of the variation in sharing between nuclear families. Differences in t...
Chapter
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Our aim in this chapter is to apply a 'dual inheritance theory' and show how 'emotion universals'-in this case shame-are related to physiological processes and linked to social and behavioural similarities across cultures on the Olle hand and how culture-specific emotions are connected to the learning and coding of specific social and behavioural p...
Chapter
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This chapter deals with the social integration and its boundaries. How is a particular locality integrated? How are social frontiers constructed in a region? How is locality inccribed within the larger economic and sociopolitical spheres? Este capítulo trata sobre fronteras e integración social: ¿De qué manera está integrada socialmente una locali...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents observations on the personal networks of 91 randomly selected inhabitants of a community in southern California who are linked to 941 associates by social and economic interactions. Over 40% of these relations are with individuals in the same locality, and almost 50% refer to kin. Kin act as trouble-shooters; friends are social...
Article
Cooperation and the emergence of social order are two key problems in the social sciences. This pa-per tests two models (kinship and reciprocity) to explain the selection of sharing partners among the Damara and Nama in Namibia. The second part of the paper deals with the social order that emerges from local exchange rules. Recently network science...
Article
"In den letzten Jahren hat sich in den Naturwissenschaften die Vorstellung durchgesetzt, dass viele natürliche und vom Menschen geschaffene Netzwerke skalenfrei sind, also Potenzgesetzen gehorchen. Diese Überlegungen werden auch auf menschliche Gesellschaften übertragen. Skalenfreie Netzwerke zeichnen sich dadurch aus, dass einige Knoten sehr gut v...
Article
'Cooperation and the emergence of social order are two key problems in the social sciences. This paper tests two models (kinship and reciprocity) to explain the selection of sharing partners among the Damara and Nama in Namibia. The second part of the paper deals with the social order that emerges from local exchange rules. Recently network science...

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Cited By

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
LINGS is a comparative anthropological research project that aims to understand how pastoral communities in Namibia govern water usage. The two major research objectives of our project are: - To analyse how local institutions regulating water usage emerge at the intersection of local norms and global ideas of justice, equality and sustainability. - To determine under what conditions community-based water management is successful, using a variety of social and economic indicators. http://lings-net.de/
Project
A conference that intends to reinvigorate explicit comparison as a method in anthropology (with Michael Schnegg as co-organizer)