Working in the private sector: matters of contradiction, self-interest, practicality and personal values

This post began as a response to a question left by an anonymous reader of my blog on a previous post in which I reflected on the origins of my interest in anthropology and my training and career as an anthropologist. I thought it was a really good question, and wanted to be able to…

"Bearing Witness": The context of choice, behavior change, and changing the system

image by *Skia [I wrote this post back in summer 2011, when I was deep into my anthropology MA program, but never published it, so I’ve decided to bring it out of the archives] A warning: this article is a bit misanthropic in nature (we all feel this way from time to time, right?). For…

Stories of Wage Theft: Jamal J.

The following narrative is the second in a series of narratives based on true wage theft stories from Memphis, TN. In the summer of 2011, I conducted interviews with four individuals who experienced wage theft (and other labor violations) in order to share their voices and educate the public about the extent of wage theft…

Stories of Wage Theft: Patricio G.

The following narrative is based on a true wage theft story from Memphis, TN. In the summer of 2011, I conducted interviews for a pro bono project with four individuals who experienced wage theft (and other labor violations) in order to share their stories and educate the public about the extent of wage theft in…

Entrepreneurship and informal economies

I’m very fascinated by the ways in which people supplement or create incomes through informal and underground economies. These are strategic methods used to create household or individual income and are untaxed and sometimes illegal. My curiosity centers around the questions of what causes people to go into these forms of business and how they…

Macy’s Path to Peace Rwandan Baskets

Lots of companies have been jumping on the social/environmental cause bandwagon, offering variations of this marketplace-based charity model for selling everything from home decor and body products to shoes and sunglasses.   A recent email in my inbox from Macy’s advertised their Path to Peace baskets, handwoven from natural plant sources by Rwandan women who…

A political economy of plasma donation

Student Blood Donor Center… Higher Fee Being Paid! Photo by author I’m going to take a wild guess and say that plasma donation centers across the country tend to have pretty steady business, and even steadier business in hard economic times like these. In terms of supply and demand, there will always be people in…